How to Prune Jatropha
Jatropha integerrima, commonly called peregrine, spicy jatropha or firecracker, is native to Cuba and can grow in USDA hardiness zones 10B through 11. Jatropha belongs in the Euphorbiaceae family and is a massive bush or multi-trunked, tropical evergreen tree that grows to mature heights of up to 15 feet tall with similar-sized canopies. Jatropha produces lustrous leaves and groups of vivid red star-shaped blossoms all year. Pruning jatropha begins after the plant’s trunk equals more than 1 1/2 inches in diameter at ground level.
Prune your jatropha during the dormant season. Make clean cuts at an angle to prevent diseases or damage, using a sharp knife.
Cut away any diseased, frail or damaged branches. Remove branches crossing or touching to increase air circulation and light penetration.
Trim the top of the jatropha to maintain a specific height or shape, using pruning shears. A height of 6 feet is suggested for jatropha plants.
Prune any growth below 1 1/2 foot on the jatropha to encourage development above this area.
Cut lateral branches, leaving six to eight buds on the branches. This promotes development on the branches.
Remove lower branches on the Jatropha with pruning clippers or a saw to force a single central stem when the desired stem has reached a diameter of about 1 1/2 inches. This step generally occurs in the first six months of growth to create a tree shape. Pinch off branch tips in early spring with a pruning clipper once the Jatropha reaches a height of 2 feet to promote new, lush branch growth. Pinch off the tips in each subsequent year until the plant reaches a height of 6 feet. Start this trimming step earlier if you want a train the Jatropha into a smaller shrub size.
Cover the newly cut stumps with soil to prevent drying and fungal problems.
- Cover the newly cut stumps with soil to prevent drying and fungal problems.
- Sharp knife
- Pruning shears