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How to Grow Castor Bean Plants

Ricinus

The Castor Bean plant is well known for a couple of reasons. As gardeners, let's focus upon the bold, decorative foliage that makes this plant so attractive in garden settings.

Native to tropical Africa, the Castor Bean plant has bold, palm-shaped leaves with striking red flowers. Other flower colors include green and a pink-ish red. Different varieties of this plant grow from 5 to 15 feet tall. Used as an ornamental plant, it is sometimes grown indoors as a houseplant in large, floor containers.

Both seeds and plant parts are poisonous for people, animals and insects through ingestion. Skin contact can cause initiation and allergic reactions. The deadly poison "Ricin" is made from the seeds.

Castor oil is extracted from the plant seeds. The process does not produce ricin.

If you grow this plant, we strongly recommend you do not let the flowers go to seed.

Did you Know? African natives once wore necklaces made from this plant!

The Castor Bean Plant is native to Africa. It is also known as: Castor Oil Plant, Mole Bean Plant, and the African Wonder Tree.


Plant Propagation:

Castor Bean plants are grown from seed. Directly sow Castor Bean seeds into your flower garden after the last frost date in your area.

Keep the soil well watered.


How to Grow Castor Bean Plants:

Castor Bean plants are easy to grow. They prefer full sun and a rich, well drained soil.  Add plenty of compost prior to planting them. These tropical plants prefer warm weather, above 60 degrees.

Castor Bean plants grow quickly. Depending upon the variety you have, they will grow 5-15 feet tall. Water them during dry periods, once or twice per week. Add a general purpose fertilizer once a month. Add mulch to help retain soil moisture and keep weeds down.

Do not let the flowers go to seed, as it is the seed that contains toxic Ricin. Some people remove flower buds, and just enjoy the beauty of the plant. Otherwise, deadhead flowers as soon as they have died.

Frost and freeze will kill these tropical plants.


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