How to Plant Jatropha Seeds


Jatropha is a genus of plants belonging to the euphorbia family along with Croton and many other related species. Jatropha plants are grown as flowering and fruiting ornamentals in the landscape, and at least one species, Jatropha curcas, is grown as a crop to produce biodiesel from the natural oils contained in its seeds, according to the University of Florida. A tropical species adapted to frost-free sub-tropical climes, Jatropha will survive the occasional light frost but will sustain damage, hence its natural cultivation range in the United States is somewhat limited.

Step 1

Soften the seed coat of your jatropha seeds by soaking them in a container of tepid tap water for eight hours or overnight before planting.

Step 2

Fill nursery pots or a seed tray with fresh planting medium that contains organic material such as compost and/or aged manure and good drainage from the addition of sand. Leave at least a 1/2-inch gap between the soil surface and the pot lip to act as a water catch.

Step 3

Drench the soil mixture with water until water flows freely from the drainage holes and the planting medium is almost soupy wet.

Step 4

Push the jatropha seeds into the wet soil gently so they are just barely covered by a thin coat of soil. Place pot or trays in a sunny or brightly lit location.

Step 5

Water the seed and surrounding soil two times each day for a week and then once a day thereafter until transplanted to maintain even moisture at all times. Allow six to 10 days for green shoots to emerge from the soil.

Step 6

Transplant the jatropha saplings into their permanent ground soil location after at least two months. Space the saplings at intervals of 7 to 8 feet for optimal growing health and vigor.

Things You'll Need

  • Jatropha seeds
  • Clean bowl or jar
  • Seedling nursery pots or trays
  • Organic seed starting potting medium
  • Compost or aged manure
  • Sand
  • Soil
  • Spade or trowel


  • University of Florida IFAS Lee County Extension: Jatropha curcas Q and A
  • USDA Plant Database Profile: Euphorbia
  • Jatrophan Nursery: Planting Jatropha
Keywords: planting jatropha seeds, propagating jatropha plants, growing jatropha seed

About this Author

An omni-curious communications professional, Dena Kane has more than 17 years of experience writing and editing content for online publications, corporate communications, business clients, industry journals, as well as film and broadcast media. Kane studied political science at the University of California, San Diego.