So why would gardeners grow such a deadly poisonous plant as a garden ornamental? Showy forms of castor bean are bold, brightly colored and thrive in high heat and drought. In tropical regions castor bean grows as a tall evergreen subshrub, but in temperate zones it is commonly grown as an annual/tender perennial. This native of northern Africa and western Asia has become naturalized in many tropical to subtropical regions across the globe where it is considered invasive. Some Third World countries grow it as a crop plant for castor oil, though the extraction process is messy and toxic.
Ornamentally, it's grown for it large, bold, sharply lobed red leaves. In summer, spikes of red flowers are produced followed by spiny, oval, red to brown fruit capsules. These should be removed because the seeds within the capsules are highly dangerous and look like beans to children.
Castor bean grows best in full sun and average to poor, well-drained soil. It makes a bold, colorful accent for mixed borders and annual beds. It becomes very large and bushy, so be sure to provide it ample space. Plants are very frost sensitive and will quickly die when the cold comes. Discard in the garbage and refrain from composting castor bean. Do not grow it where children play because it poses serious health concerns. (Info source: Learn2Grow.com)
Genus - Ricinus
Species - Communis
Variety - Red
Common name - Redleaved Castorbean
Pre-Treatment - Not-required
Hardiness zones - 4 - 14
Height - 5'-30' / 1.50 - 9(10) m
Spread - 4'-5' / 1.20 - 1.50(3) m
Plant type - Annual in zones 4-8, Shrub in zones above
Vegetation type - Deciduous or evergreen
Exposure - Full Sun, Partial Sun
Growth rate - Fast
Soil PH - Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline
Soil type - Clay, laom, Sand, well drained
Water requirements - Drought Tolerant, Average Water
Landscape uses - Bedding Plant, Container, Feature Plant, Mixed Border, Tropical
Bloom season - Early Summer, Summer, Late Summer
Leaf / Flower color - Dark Red-green / Light red
Soak in warm water for 6 hours and sow 10mm deep.
Keep the soil moist, germinate in warm place, move to the light bright place immediately after the germination appears.
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