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Ricinus communis

Castor oil plant

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Key information

Plant type

Evergreen tree

Flower colour

Yellow

Feature

Flowers

Hardiness

Half hardy

Skill level

Beginner

Ricinus communis

Plant details

Although in its tropical homeland, the caster oil plant, Ricinus communis, reaches 8-12m in height, its growth can be restricted in a garden setting, and it is usually grown in containers as an annual. While Ricinus communis does produce greenish-yellow flowers, it is grown mainly for its large, glossy, reddish purple foliage. Seeds must be sown early in the year, and ideally soaked for a few hours in tepid water beforehand. At the end of the season, plants are either discarded or rehoused under glass to grow on as a small conservatory shrub. All parts of Ricinus communis are highly toxic, particularly the seeds, so it is a good idea to deadhead the fluffy blooms before seeds set.

Family: Euphorbiaceae

Genus: Ricinus

Species: communis

Plant type: Evergreen tree

Flower colour: Yellow

Foliage colour: Purple

Feature: Flowers

Sun exposure: Full sun

Soil: Well-drained/light

Hardiness: Half hardy

Skill level: Beginner

Height: 180cm

Spread: 100cm

Time to plant seeds: May to June

Flowering period: July to September


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