Jatropha are unusual and very ornamental plants from the tropics and subtropics of America and Africa. About 20 species of them are succulents. jatropha podagrica and Jatropha cathartica have a thick caudex at the base, designed to store moisture. These are deciduous species that shed their beautiful large leaves for a period of winter dormancy. After it, bright inflorescences of coral-red color begin to grow, and behind them – and new large leaves.
Caudex jatropha resemble bonsai in their appearance. Jatropha podagrica for the thickened caudex was called the abdomen of the Buddha, because it resembles some images of the Buddha.
Jatropha branching and whole-edged, unlike the first two species, have simple stems, without caudex, but shed the lower leaves, leaving the upper part of the crown.
The color of the leaves changes with the age of the plants: initially they are dark green, but over time they become lighter and lose their luster, becoming dull.
Jatrophas not only willingly bloom indoors, but are also able to tie fruits and seeds if you help them with pollination. They are also propagated by stem cuttings. In room conditions, these are long-lasting plants – for example, gouty jatropha can live up to 15 years without renewal.
Jatropha podagrica in cultivation is not more difficult than other plants that have a dormant period, although they can grow without it at all. The most important thing for them is to choose the right watering regimen so as not to cause overwatering and root rot. These plants of rocky places are very sensitive to excess moisture.
Soil. Jatropha prefers sandy but fertile soils, although it grows on almost any. For it, you can use a ready-made earth mixture for cacti. Or make your own, the following article: turf earth : leaf earth : sand (1: 1: 1), with the addition of brick chips. The acidity of the soil should be slightly acidic or neutral.
Transplant. The plant develops quite slowly, so transplanting should not be frequent. The plant is transplanted every 2-3 years, the pot is selected shallow, laid on the bottom of a drainage layer 3-4 cm thick In room conditions, gouty jatropha lives more than 15 years, reaching a height of 50-90 cm. Planting in a tight pot restrains the vertical growth of the plant, allowing you to maintain more compact dimensions.
When transplanting, it is not necessary to take a new pot of a larger volume. It is important to partially replace the soil and update the drainage. Transplant the plant by transshipment, trying not to damage the earthen lump with the root system. In those years when transplantation is not performed, it is enough to remove part of the old soil from the pot and replace it with fresh soil.
Lighting. Jatropha needs bright lighting. It feels good on the windows of eastern and western orientation, on the southern ones – with shade from the midday sunlight. After long periods of cloudy weather, it can get sunburned.
Room jatropha is afraid of drafts, so in no case should you leave it indoors during ventilation, and even more so take it out into the fresh air.
Temperature. Throughout the year, the plant can be kept at a warm room temperature within + 24 … + 26 ° C, although the plant tolerates temperatures up to + 29 ° C. However, in the autumn-winter period, it is desirable to reduce the temperature of the content to + 15 … + 18 ° C. The minimum temperature that gouty jatropha can tolerate for a short time is + 10 ° C, and branching jatropha – + 4 ° C.
Watering for the plant requires moderate, with the drying of the upper layer of the substrate between waterings. The plant does not tolerate waterlogging, which can cause the stem to rot. If in the autumn-winter period the plant has dropped its leaves, watering is stopped almost completely, and the soil in the pot is slightly covered with sphagnum moss, which is kept moist. Watering is resumed with the beginning of bud growth in the spring.
Water quality must be closely monitored. Watering is carried out only with settled soft, not cold water.
Humidity. Increased humidity of the air jatropha is not required, so it is not sprayed. Dry air does not reduce the attractiveness of the leaf plates of jatropha, but the plant immediately reacts to the appearance of dust on the leaves. They lighten, lose elasticity. Therefore, the leaves must be regularly wiped from dust with a damp cloth or sponge.
Fertilizing is made only during the period of active vegetation from spring to autumn once a month, using a specialized fertilizer for cacti. In the autumn-winter period, they do not feed.
Rest period. The season of active vegetation of the plant is spring and summer. In the fall, jatropha begins to shed its leaves to prepare for winter, during which it is dormant. Jatropha can do without a period of rest. However, it is better from October to February to keep it at a low temperature, + 15 … + 18 ° C, practically without watering and without fertilizing.
Flowering. Gouty jatropha blooms in May-June, and branchy and laxative – in autumn. Flowering of one inflorescence lasts several weeks. After flowering, leaf growth begins.
Toxicity. The fruits and juice of the plant are toxic, so keep jatropha away from small children and pets, handle it carefully.
Pests. Problems with pests are rare, although it is possible to be affected by spider mites, whiteflies and thrips, especially with high dry air.
Reproduction of jatropha
Jatropha is most often propagated by cuttings. Seed reproduction is possible, but the seeds quickly lose germination.
Cuttings. As the stem of the jatropha grows, it gives at the top of the branch, and they are used on cuttings. Initially, cuttings 8-12 cm long are withered for several days until the milky juice stops being released. The cut before planting is dusted with Kornevin, then the cuttings are rooted in a greenhouse in moist soil at an elevated temperature, + 28 … + 32 ° C. The rooting process takes about a month.
Seed propagation. In order to get seeds, conduct artificial pollination of flowers with a cotton swab or a soft brush. As the fruit is tied, tie them with bags to collect seeds so that they do not crumble when opening the boxes. The seeds of the plant are large, ripen in nut-shaped oval-shaped fruits up to 1.5 cm long. In each fruit – 2-3 seeds.
Seeds are sown fresh on the surface of the soil, not sealing, but only pressing into the ground. Spray and germinate at a temperature of + 24 ° C in a greenhouse. Seeds germinate easily, after 1-2 weeks. When the seedlings reach a height of several centimeters, they are planted in small pots with a diameter of 7-8 cm.
Possible problems when growing jatropha
- Root rot – occurs due to excessive watering.
- The leaves turn yellow and fall off – perhaps the plant is affected by a spider mite. Although the fall of leaves in the autumn period (before the onset of rest) is a natural process.
- Flowers fall off – the plant is affected by thrips.
- Jatropha grows very slowly – fertilization is required.
- The leaves are sluggish and discolored – low water temperature when watering. It is necessary to water the plant with slightly warm water.