How to Pick Castor Bean Seeds

Overview

Castor bean plants produce massive 3-foot-long leaves and colorful blossoms, making the plant popular for ornamental landscaping purposes. Even the seed pods can be decorative, thanks to their red or pink color and prickly appearance. Instead of getting castor bean seedlings in a nursery, pick the seeds from an existing castor bean shrub for future planting. Such propagation is often more economical than buying a started shrub.

Step 1

Wait for the castor bean plant to produce seed pods, which have a round appearance, spiky growths along their exterior and measure approximately 1 inch long. Seed pods typically begin appearing in the late spring and early summer and become mature in the middle of summer, according to Palomar Community College.

Step 2

Cut off the seed pod once it begins to take on a brown hue. Seed pods that are left to mature completely on the castor bean plant will burst open unexpectedly to spread the seeds inside, making seed collection difficult.

Step 3

Place the seed pods in a tray, and put the tray in a sunny location to allow the seed pods to dry completely. They will crack open with a popping sound once they're fully dry.

Step 4

Remove the three seeds found in each pod. The seeds typically measure 1/2 inch long and have a brown or black appearance with white or brown specks and stripes.

Step 5

Remove any attached pieces of hull or plant flesh stuck to the seeds, according to Purdue University. Store the seeds in a resealable container until you're ready to plant them.

Tips and Warnings

  • All parts of the castor bean plant are very toxic, especially its seeds, according to the University of Illinois. Keep children and pets away from the plant if you are allowing it to produce seeds. Otherwise, trim off its flowers when they appear to keep the plant from growing seeds.

Things You'll Need

  • Castor bean plant
  • Tray
  • Resealable container

References

  • Palomar Community College: Castor Bean Plant
  • University of Illinois: Castor Bean
  • Purdue University: Ricinus Communis
  • Purdue Univeristy: Castorbeans
Keywords: pick castor beans, castor bean seeds, castor seed pods

About this Author

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.