Jatropha is the name of diverse and vast genus of succulent trees, shrubs and plants. There are approximately 175 different species within the jatropha genus. It is part of the Euphorbiaceae family. The genus originates in Central America, and has also been naturalized in many subtropical and tropical regions of the planet, including parts of North America, Africa and India.
Jatropha is highly tolerant of many different types of soils. The only requirement for the soil is that it is well-drained. The plants bloom on the growth of the current year. As a result, they can be pruned at any point. The plants respond well to pruning and can be maintained at the size of a shrub or trained to the form of a tree.
It is relatively easy to grow jatropha. Jatropha can be cultivated on most types of terrains, including wastelands. The plant also can manage saline, sandy and gravelly kinds of soils. It can also flourish in stony and poor soils.
Jatropha should be planted in areas that receive partial shade or full sun. The plants are highly tolerant of drought. Jatropha can be easily damaged by frost and is best when grown in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's plant hardiness zones of 10 and 11.
The multiple trunks and stems of the plant produce a symmetrical and weeping cluster of branches near the ground. The plant can be pruned and staked to make it grow on a singular trunk for the initial 2 or 3 feet.
If a jatropha is watered excessively, it can become very thin. As a result, it is important to avoid overwatering the plant. A slow-release and balanced fertilizer should be applied to the jatropha between once and twice annually. To decrease weeds, place mulch under the plant.