Croton (codiaeum variegatum) are really tender perennials that grow outdoors in tropical climates. Surprise–these plants are also part of the very large euphorbia family!
They are not botanically known as croton because there is already a species of plant that bears no resemblance but goes by that botanical name–sort of like the confusion between perennial geranium and the ornamental geraniums used for landscaping and in containers in the summer–those are actaully pelargoniums. (What was that about a rose by any other name smelling as sweet?)
Lately, the craze has included including these colorful plants in outrageous container designs as well.
But crotons can liven up a winter windowsill just by itself or in small groupings. Its colorful leaves are so vibrant, no flowers are needed!