PLEASE NOTE: Since plants are often sourced from the garden to order, sizes do vary a little, depending on how they come out of the ground, but I always endeavour to give a little more rather than less! They are sometimes shipped bare-rooted, but will approximate the size specified (e.g. a 9cm pot).
|Ricinus communis 'Impala'|
|Castor Oil Plant|
|A stunning and exotic specimen plant with large palmate leaves, coloured from dark green to red-bronze. The creamy-yellow flower spikes, whilst attractive, are not as interesting as the spiky maroon-red seed pods. In warmer climates ricinus can grow to the size of a small tree up to 15ft high, but it is usually grown as an annual in the UK and is unlikely to reach a height of much more than 4ft/1.3m. However, it may be possible to over-winter container plants in a warm conservatory.
Note: All parts of the plant are poisonous, particularly the seeds. Handle the plant with care, as the sap may cause irritation to some individuals.
|Sowing and/or growing instructions|
|Sow individually in pots of compost, .25in/6mm deep, ideally at a temperature of 20-30C, though I have had no trouble in achieving a reasonable germination rate in an unheated greenhouse. Some sources recommend soaking the seeds in tepid water for 24 hours before sowing, but I have not found this to be necessary. Grow on under cover until danger of frost is past, moving into larger pots as necessary so that plants do not become root-bound (which could cause premature flowering), planting out 3ft/1m apart when about a foot tall, in a sunny position in rich, fertile soil.|