This plant has been in my possession since last summer (I moved into a new, and otherwise empty, apartment one year ago). I wanted to keep it, but because there are no labels, I decided to water it only when the soil felt dry, which ended up being about once a week. Also, it gets bright indirect sunlight (in Western Europe, 47°N), and never direct sunlight.

This seems to have worked; new leaves are growing, and it generally looks healthy. Can anyone tell me what the plant is called?

There are some issues, though. Some leaves have “dead ends” (not easy to see in the picture), i.e. the tips of the leaves look dead (or at least not healthy). I assume this isn’t normal, so how can I fix it? Is it safe to prune those leaves, or in general?

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2 Answers 2


This is a croton, a member of the euphorbia family. There is an amazing variation in leaf shape and colour as can be seen in this link so I am not able to identify the variety.

They need bright light and consistently moist soil or all the leaves will droop. In indoor locations where the humidity is low the ends of the leaves will brown. You can take a pair of scissors and trim the dead material. Ensure that you leave a small margin of dead tissue at the end of the leave or it will just die back some more. Prevention is to raise the humidity level but this is not easy indoors.

I don't see any signs of insect infestation but crotons are known to be attacked by spider mites, mealy bug and scale. As a test look at the underside of the leaves for small grains of salt (spider mite) or white cottony tufts (mealy bug) or brown bumps (scale).

If caught early most of these pests can be controlled with soap and water.

Edit: @Bernheim you can prune branches and leaves and it will bud off of newer wood.

  • What about pruning whole leaves or branches?
    – Bernheim
    Jun 14, 2014 at 17:24

In a number of plants I'm very familiar with, necrosis of the leaf tips is a sign of nutrient excess. This is usually fixed by 1) not feeding anything but water for a while and 2) flushing the soil with 2 - 3 pot volume equivalents of plain RO or rested tap water.

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