London (change)
19 messages
20/10/2012 at 09:56

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.

20/10/2012 at 10:05

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. 

20/10/2012 at 10:10

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.


20/10/2012 at 10:13

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

20/10/2012 at 10:17

I assumed fatsia - if ricinus ignore me instead 

20/10/2012 at 10:18

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. 

20/10/2012 at 10:18

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.

20/10/2012 at 10:20

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

20/10/2012 at 10:30

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!!!

20/10/2012 at 11:46

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

21/10/2012 at 15:48

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

20/05/2014 at 22:40

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 


20/05/2014 at 22:45

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

10/09/2014 at 19:36

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.

10/09/2014 at 19:49 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 )

24/11/2014 at 17:50

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

24/11/2014 at 18:16

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

24/11/2014 at 18:25

Avoid composting all parts of the castor bean because of its toxins. A few leaves accidentally going in will be ok.

24/11/2014 at 18:49

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.

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