How to Cultivate Jatropha

Overview

The jatropha genus within the plant family Euphorbiaceae consists of close to 200 varieties of trees, shrubs and plants. This genus of plants thrives in either subtropical or tropical locations with exceptional ability to withstand arid conditions. The Jatropha integerrima, widely grown as an ornamental tree or shrub, offers ease of growth in the landscape. The Jatropha curcas tree is currently cultivated for its seed production and uses in the biofuel industry. The seeds of the plant contain 37 percent oil that can combust with no refining, according to Jatropha World. All jatropha plants share similar cultivation needs and requirements.

Step 1

Choose a location that offers full sunlight or partial shade. The plant will tolerate partial shade, but flower production will be drastically reduced. The plants cannot tolerate frost and are easily damaged in cold conditions.

Step 2

Plant in a location that offers well-draining soil. Locate the plants away from coastal areas, because they do not tolerate salt conditions. Jatropha plants grow well in containers.

Step 3

Water only when completely dry. Jatropha plants can grow on the humidity within the air and do not have to be watered if the air humidity level is high. Annual rainfall of 19 to 24 inches is ideal.

Step 4

Prune in the spring for the desired shape. The plants are easily trained to grow as multi-stemmed shrubs or single-trunk trees. Prune lightly or radically, as jatropha plants tolerate pruning well.

Step 5

Apply 2 to 3 inches of aged manure around jatropha plants in the spring. They do not require much fertilizing, since they grow best in nutrient-poor locations.

Tips and Warnings

  • All parts of the jatropha plant are poisonous.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Aged manure

References

  • Floridata: Jatropha integerrima
  • Jatropha World: Crop Cultivation
  • Jatropha World: The Plant Profile
  • University of Florida: Jatropha integerrima

Who Can Help

  • University of Florida: Jatropha curcas
Keywords: jatropha plant care, jatropha plant cultivation, jatropha planting

About this Author

Kimberly Sharpe is a freelance writer with a diverse background. She has worked as a Web writer for the past four years. She writes extensively for Associated Content where she is both a featured home improvement contributor (with special emphasis on gardening) and a parenting contributor. She also writes for Helium. She has worked professionally in the animal care and gardening fields.