Jatropha Podagrica  By Mary Suski deFisher

Jatropha Podagrica

Mary Suski deFisher of Winter Park, Fla. has the following advice.

Jatropha podagrica is one of those rare succulents that develops quickly from seed to the final look.  In fact, the only way to appreciate this plant is by sowing seed so that growth can be observed.  A full-grown plant is a beauty but you miss seeing the fatness form and the evolution of its bark (i do consider it as a bark rather than an epidermis, because at times it peels as it grows, adding interest to its character).

No matter what you read in the books, I offer you the following advice.  They love full sun although they grow well in heavy shade too but the leaves become much larger.  A well-draining humus soil is required with lots of fertilizer and lots of water.  I use 50/50 perlite and a good potting soil with as little sand as possible.  While in the seedling stage they seem to prefer lots of room since the roots are coarse.  If the winter temperature drops to 40o or lower, older plants can survive if they are kept completely dry.  However, if you can continue giving them direct sun exposure in winter without having the temperature drop that low, you can continue watering and feeding.  Mine bloom all winter long without missing a beat.

Note:  Mary also writes the “Your Column” for the American Cactus and Succulent Journal.

Source:  This article is from the very first issue of The Amateurs’ Digest, in May of 1989, when it went by the name Cacti & Other Succulents.  There is no ISSN showing on this little 8-page first issue.  Very possibly, an ISSN was attributed later.