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What is a croton?

Raymore woman’s plant nearly 40 years old

By Raymore Journal staff

August 12, 2022

Some people have issues keeping a rose garden alive. Imagine keeping one plant alive for 40 years. That is exactly what one local woman has accomplished.

Ellen Harris of Raymore has kept her croton alive for nearly 40 years. What is a croton?

Croton is a houseplant known for its foliage covered in green, scarlet, orange, and yellow splotches, according to Crotons are native to the tropical forests of southeast Asia and Oceania. In the wild, they grow as large shrubs, reaching up to 10 feet tall.

On average, crotons live indoors from two to four years. Harris has that beat by an order of magnitude.

Harris received her croton in November 1983 as a gift following a medical procedure. At the time, the plant was only four inches tall. Now, the plant is more than four feet tall.

What does it take to keep a plant alive four decades?

“Lots of water,” Harris said. “Humidity and water.”

To put this into perspective, the following occurred the year Harris received her croton:

  • Mario Bros first released as arcade game.
  • Fraggle Rock debuts on HBO.
  • DynaTAC 8000x becomes first commercially available handheld mobile phone.
  • Sally Ride becomes first American woman in space.
  • Microsoft Word is first released.
  • “Billie Jean” and “Beat It” top the music charts.
  • “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” “Flashdance,” and “National Lampoon’s Vacation” all score big in the box office.