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Wisconsin's Tropical Gardens


Plant Profile Series

 

Jatropha podagrica - Buddha Belly

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Jatropha is one of the coolest plants that we carry and it is so easy to grow, even a caveman can do it. :) It gets its common name from its swollen, belly-like trunk. It bears above it's crown of large, waxy, lobed leaves, a cluster of vivid orange flowers. These flowers are a delicacy for butterflies and will eventually bear olive-shaped green, non-edible seed pods that, when mature, will literally explode, launching their seeds several feet away. It loses its leaves over winter, but may flower year round.

Jatropha is a member of the Euphorbia family and comes to us from Guatamala, Honduras and Nicaragua. It grows to between 2 and 3 feet tall.

LIGHT: This plant prefers full sun to partial shade. A bright east, west or south window would be fine as long as it provides a few hours of direct sunlight per day.

WATER: Treat this plant like a succulent. Let the plant become dry before watering. Moisten the soil lightly and let it dry again before the next watering.

TEMPERATURE: Like most euphorbias, Jatropha likes tropical temperatures in the 70's and 80's with a minimum winter temperature of 50°.

AVAILABILITY: Buddha Belly's are rare and seldom available. When they are, you may find them in 6" or if you are really lucky, in an 8" pot.