Jatropha: Greenhouse Plants
W – warm, minimum of 13°C (55°F)
I think one could get away with growing jatropha podagrica in a cool house but it would not do quite so well or be so continuously in flower as if it were grown warm. Known variously as the Gout Plant or Guatemalan Rhubarb this curious succulent from Colombia is a great favourite of mine. For years I only ever saw them in botanical garden collections, then I found one quite by accident in a garden centre. I also discovered that seed is not difficult to come by. It has a swollen stem and usually only about two three-lobed leaves at a time sticking out incongruously from the tip of the stem. Also from this point issue a succession of flowering stems bearing a head of tight red buds which open, one by one, over a long period. By the time one head has finished another has appeared in its place. The golden rule is not to over-water this plant but allow theto feel quite dry between watering. Only give it an occasional feed in summer.
Plants prefer to be potbound in a deep pot so only pot on when absolutely necessary. If a growing tip can be spared, it can be used as a cutting, allowing the cut surface to dry before inserting it into sand. It should be kept much on the dry side. I would not sacrifice the growing tip of my plant even though it would probably branch out with another one. I would rather sow the seed. My own plant produces seed inside a small fruit.