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Care of a Jatropha Plant

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Care of a Jatropha Plant

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Overview

The Jatropha plant, also known as peregrina, has gained notoriety for its high oil content and production of bio-fuel, but home gardeners enjoy this plant for its star-shaped red flowers and easy care. It grows as an evergreen shrub and can reach 15 feet tall and 10 feet wide. Jatropha is a hardy, drought-tolerant plant that grows well in arid to semiarid regions. It is easy to propagate from cuttings.

Step 1

Plant the Jatropha in the right location. The Jatropha plant prefers full sun (8 hours of sunlight a day), but can tolerate partial shade. Choose an area with plenty of sunlight and well-drained soil.

Step 2

Water the Jatropha on a regular basis during times of low rainfall. The Jatropha can survive on a good rain once a week but should be irrigated in dry climates. Keep the soil evenly moist and let the first few inches dry between watering.

Step 3

Feed the Jatropha plant once in early spring and again in late summer. Use a water-soluble fertilizer or slow-release pellets.

Step 4

Spread a layer of mulch along the base of the plant to aid in retention of soil moisture and control of weeds.

Step 5

Prune back the Jatropha plant in late winter. Cut off any dead or dying branches and remove discolored leaves.

Tips and Warnings

  • The Jatropha plant contains a milky sap that can irritate sensitive skin. Always use gloves when working with Jatropha. Over-watering can kill the Jatropha plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Fertilizer
  • Mulch
  • Water
  • Pruning shears

References

  • Floridata
  • Plant Care
Keywords: peregrina, jatropha integerrima, jatropha plant

About this Author

Kelsey Erin Shipman has worked as a travel writer, poet, journalist and award-winning photographer since 2004. She is a featured poet on NYC public radio, is the winner of the San Jacinto & Alethean Literary Societies' Poetry Award, and has authored three collections of poetry including "cold days," "bastante" and "short poems." She earned a B.A. in philosophy from Southwestern University.