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How to Prune Jatropha

By Diane Dilov-Schultheis ; Updated September 21, 2017
Prune jatropha to keep leaves and flowers healthy.
gouttes de pluie sur jeune feuille de jatropha image by Unclesam from Fotolia.com

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.


Things You Will Need

  • Sharp knife
  • Pruning shears


  • Cover the newly cut stumps with soil to prevent drying and fungal problems.

About the Author


Diane Dilov-Schultheis has been writing professionally since 2000. She is a food and travel writer who also specializes in gaming, satellites, RV repair, gardening, finances and electronics. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and has been published online at the Travel Channel and Intel.