Castor bean plant (Ricinus communis)

14 years ago

I'm thinking about growing one or two of them in a special unaccessible, but highly visible place (almost full sun) and would like to know where could I buy seeds for the RED leaved one, not a plain green?

When they should be planted, in fall or in a spring?

Is it any particular name to the cultivar(s)?

Does it get damaged by insects, JB especially, and become unsightly?

If you already grow it, would you spear some seeds and I'll send you something else in exchange?


Comments (8)

  • arbo_retum
    14 years ago

    george, your castor bean posting is a good example of how a GW poster might want to occasionally post the same thing in 2 different forums. in this case, there is a Perennials forum poster, Linnea2, who i know is really into castor bean plants and grows a number of varieties, but i don't know that she looks at the New Eng forum much. so you might want to cut and paste your post into the Perennials forum to get broader response. you could also email linnea2 through her GW member page, as she has given that option.

  • Sue W (CT zone 6a)
    14 years ago

    Hi George,

    I love this plant and grow it every year but can't deal with seeds so I buy plants. One of the red leafed cultivars is called Carmencita but I couldn't find plants of that this season. Here is a picture of the one I did find-I forget the cultivar name but may still have the tag at home. If you want seeds from this, let me know and I'll bring them to the swap on Sunday. I'll also bring an envelope of Carmencita seeds I've had hanging around. They may be too old but you're welcome to give them a shot.



  • casey1gw
    14 years ago

    Sory, I'm all out of seeds but they're sold on store seed racks every spring. You just put a few seeds in the ground after the frost in spring and they grow tall quickly.


  • ego45
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    Mindy, thanks, I know linnea from Bulbs forum and will contact her.
    Sue, thanks for the offer, I'll take it.
    Hedy, thanks for reply. Where should I keep seeds in a winter? I know, not in a stomach :-)

  • narcnh
    14 years ago

    Now that is a cool looking plant. I'll have to look for it next year at the nursery. Given its 'invasive weed' moniker in warmer climes, I'm glad it's a non-reseeding annual up here. Making a connection to another post about weeds vs. flowers, if you use your imagination, it looks a little like pokeberry....


  • diggingthedirt
    14 years ago

    I completely forgot about this plant this year, after my local specialty nursery told me they were not offering it because of the toxicity problem. The owner was very apologetic, and said that she knew I was *probably* not a terrorist, but that they'd decided to just skip it. This is also the first time I haven't had any volunteers - it always self-sows, at least one or 2 plants. I've never had insect problems with it.

    I guess I'll be looking for seeds next spring, too, because it's such a wonderful plant that I can't stand the idea of not growing it again. A quick google search turned up several sources, though none of the big seed houses were on the first few pages.

  • garlicgrower
    14 years ago

    We love our castor beans. My DH and I have planted the "poison garden" for several years in a row. I don't have a photo handy so here's a description.
    At the side of our red barn there is a strip of poor soil (about 2.5 feet by 12 feet). There are at least 5 huge castor beans (green - at least 7 feet tall, leaves like umbrellas) in the strip - grown from last year's seed. With shorter white flowered datura in front, interplanted with tithonia (orange flower) and a very tall maroon red amaranth. Climbing up the castors is hyacinth bean. (Wish I had planted the hyacinth beans earlier so they would be more robust by now and make a better show.)

    These are not in any secluded sopt, but no one has tried eating it and we've had no casualties!

    Good luck
    Maryanne in WMass

  • terryboc
    14 years ago

    DtD-terrorist? I'd never have thought of plants as weapons of terror. I do have datura that I've threatened my DH with if he misbehaves. I did read an article several years ago about one of the NY botanical gardens pulling out all of their datura because several teenagers became very ill after eating them trying to get high. Darwin's law at it's finest.

    I got a red leafed castor bean in a swap this spring and it is an impressive plant! I'm hoping to get some seed from it so I can have more next year, so maybe I'll have some extra seed to share.