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Does anyone know what I need to do with my castor oil plants now? They have grown to approx 7ft and I'm not sure if I am suppossed to cut them down and let them regrow or pull them out and dispose of them.


Castor Oil plants are hardy in the UK and live for years.  Leave it alone and it will put on more growth next year.

 If it's getting too big you could do some pruning in the spring to re-shape it.

 If you want some guidance as to how to do that , you could post some pictures of it on here and we'll try to make some helpful suggestions. 


Have you got these in a heated greenhouse? If not they'll cut themselves back when the frosts come and you won't see them again. You can save seed then put them on the compost heap. (Don't eat them) They're easy to grow as annuals. If you want a particular colour variety you can buy a packet of seeds in the colour you want.



Are we talking about ricinus or fatsia here. If it's fatsia ignore my comments


I assumed fatsia - if ricinus ignore me instead 



lol Lindyloo2! Both pieces of advice above are correct but they are for two different plants! I believe you have Ricinus communis aka Castor oil plant and therefore should take nutcutlet's advice. However if you have Fatsia japonica aka Castor oil plant then take Dovefromabove's advice. 

Gary Hobson

The true Castor Oil plant, Ricinus communis, is NOT generally hardy in our climate. It will not survive our Winters.

The plant is actually a perennial, and in warm climates will grow into a small tree. I don't know whether it will survive outdoors in milder parts of the country. Most people who grow this plant in the UK treat it as an annual, and grow it from seed each year.

You might be able to overwinter one, by putting it in a pot, and overwintering in a heated greenhouse or conservatory.

There is also another plant that is sometimes confused with Castor Oil plant. That is Fatsia japonica, a shrub, with large glossy green leaves. From the wording of the original question, that the plant has grown to 7 feet, presumably in one season, it would suggest that this is Ricinus.


Oh, this thread has made me smile and demonstrated why we use Latin name for plants!! 


Yes  I may be wrong this time - but I was right when I argued the case for latin names on an earlier thread LOL 

And the Fatsia Japonica that we had did grow huge very quickly!!!

Thank you for all your comments! It is a ricinus,so I will take on board all advice given. Thanks again folks.


Can I point out that the recinus seeds are extremely poisonous, make sure no kids get hold of them!

Hi can I grow an Acer in my front garden it gets very very hot there in summer and cold and windy in winter ...if we get frost ...haven't had any last winter though ...thank you 



I'd start a new thread sharon. This one is about castor oil plants and might not be viewed by acer experts

I'm thoroughly confused. I planted a castor oil plant , bought at a gaden centre ( no idea which sort) in a very large pot and it's thrived in our little courtyard which gets hardly any sun. We're in Fife in Scotland but very sheltered.  I don't know whether to take a chance and leave it where it is ( and hope for the seed pods have appeared..or winter it indoors where there will be a drastic chance in environment. can easily tell the difference between Ricinus and Fatsia.  If you are still unsure, the Ricinus will die come the hard weather and the Fatsia will survive ( within reason of course )


Can I put caster oil plant cuttings in garden waste bin if there are are no black seed heads ?


The seeds are quite deadly aren't they...

Agreed but this thread concerns both Ricin and to be sure which Southgate is referring to before starting a scare.  Fatsia leaves and stems take a while to rot down but don't constitute a threat.  I agree that Ricin is a different matter but no seeds are involved .....burning it may be a better bet altho Southgate doesn't state whether he/she is intending to home compost or putting it out for council green waste collection.  If putting it out for Green Waste ( or disposing at local green waste tip ), if unsure, ask the relevant authority.


Hi Iv got to castor oil plant in a garden I'm working at the moment she brought the plants from holland with her over twenty years ago and placed them on two beautiful pots they have since outgrown and broke the pots will they survive a move ? Or is it possible to take a cutting and replant there over seven foot tall wouldn't be easy to move them. 


I had a wobble over which plant  mine was last year until I decided it was quite definately not a "Caster oil plant" 

As many have said this is why we should use the latin names. Fatsia Japonica . or "False castor Oil plant" We really need to make sure exactly what plant we  are  dealing with,  particularly when you are potentially  dealing with an extremely  dangerous plant . 

Ricinus communis, castor oil plant - THE POISON GARDEN communis, castor oil plant, is usually described as absolutely deadly in the tiniest of amounts, 50000 tonnes a year are being produced and it is usually.......

My Fatsia Japonica has lovely leaves.  It grows well and is easy to prune right down as far as you like.

Since I've had two small grandchildren, I am particularly wary about several of my garden plants .

Last edited: 03 June 2017 13:03:14