Ricinus plants are half hardy perennials that range from 90 cm to 1.8 m in height.
They are an erect plant that carry large lobed leaves; these may be red, bronze, green or purple in colour.
They bloom in the middle of summer when they carry clusters of red or green flowers.
They then produce attractive seed pods. Some common names for Ricinus include Castor Oil Plant, Castor Bean plant and Palma Christi.
Common Names: Castor Oil Plant, Palma Christi, Castor Bean, Mamona, Jada, Arandi, Higuerilla.
Life Cycle: Half hardy perennial commonly grown as a half hardy annual by gardeners.
Height: 40 to 470 inches (100 to 1200 cm).
Native: Mediterranean, East Africa, South Asia.
Growing Region: Zones 3 to 10. As a perennial in zones 8 to 10.
Flower Details: Red, yellow, green. Terminal panicle. Monoclinous.
Foliage: Red, purple, green. Glossy. Palmate.
Fruit: Round. Spiky. Red, Purplish-green, green.
Sow Outside: 1/4 inch (6 mm). Following the last frost in warm areas. Spacing 24 to 60 inches (60 to 150 cm).
Sow Inside: Soak bean for one day. Use peat pots. Germination time: two to three weeks. Temperature 70°F (21°C). Seven or eight weeks in advance. Transplant outdoors a couple of weeks after the last frost.
Requirements: Full sunlight. Good drainage. For best results: soil pH 6 to 7. Rich soil. Moist soil. Sandy soil. Provide support. Regular feed. Regular watering.
It is best to start off Castor Oil plants indoors. First soak the Castor oil seeds for a day in warm water, then sow the seeds about 6 mm deep into peat pots about six weeks before the last frost. Ricinus Plant seeds should take about two or three weeks to germinate at 21 to 25 degrees Centigrade. The young Castor oil seedlings should then be transplanted outdoors a couple of weeks after the last frost. Ricinus species should be spaced from 70 cm (small) to 1.5 m (large) apart, and grown in a sunny part of the garden. For best results grow Castor oil plants in a rich loam of pH 6 to 7.
Castor Oil Plants and other Ricinus plant species are easy to look after; they like a moist soil so water regularly; They are big plants so provide a stake and feed them regularly.
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