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Ricinus communis 'Impala'

Castor oil plant

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Key information

Plant type

Evergreen tree

Flower colour





Half hardy

Skill level


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Plant details

Although in its tropical homeland, ricinus is a tree reaching 8m to 12m (25ft to 40ft) high, in the garden it is grown as a dramatic foliage plant to provide a summer highlight in the middle of summer bedding or in large tubs. The seeds must be sown early, soaked for a few hours in tepid water first, and kept growing in pots without check up to planting time. At the end of the season, plants are either discarded or rehoused under glass to grow on as a small conservatory shrub. The seed coats are highly toxic, so it is a good idea to deadhead the fluffy blooms before seeds set.

Family: Euphorbiaceae

Genus: Ricinus

Species: communis

Cultivar: Impala

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: 120cm

Spread: 60cm

Time to plant seeds: May to June

Flowering period: July to September

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