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Care of a Jatropha Plant

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

Warning

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.

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