Castor bean is an exotic addition to the ornamental garden, famous for its massive size, tropical-looking leaves and bizarre spiny seed pods.
The alternate, star-shaped leaves can grow over 2½ feet across. Each palmate leaf has 5 to11 deeply incised lobes, with serrated edges and prominent central veins.
This species, native to Ethiopia, has glossy bronze-green leaves,
Because of its rapid, vigorous growth, it is easily grown as a warm season annual in temperate climates, but it rarely exceeds 8-10 feet in a single growing season. This fast-growing plant tends to grow straight up at first, developing branches later
When grown as an ornamental, castor bean can be planted directly in the garden in late spring or started indoors 6-8 weeks before the average last frost.
Soak overnight for faster germination.
Sow the seeds 1-1½ inches deep. Seedlings should start coming up in 1-3 weeks.
Place the plants outdoors in full sun and deep, rich soil about 4 feet apart. Provide plenty of water and fertilizer.
Not for human consumption. Seeds are poisonous.
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