Jatropha integerrima Jacq.
Peregrina, Spicy Jatropha
Jatropha hastata, Jatropha pandurifolia
Jatropha integerrima is a dense, rounded shrub that grows up to 10 feet (3 m) tall to almost tree-like proportions with age in frost-free climates. Leaves are up to 6 inches (15 cm) long, up to 2 inches (5 cm) wide, have sharp points on the lobes, and are held on long leaf stems. They are green and velvety on the upper surface and flecked with purple below. Flowers are five-petaled, up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) across, deep red with yellow stamens. They appear in late spring and summer held in branched clusters on 4 inches (10 cm) long stalks at the branch tips. The inflorescence continues to branch and flower for an extended period.
USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 45 °F (+7.2 °C).
How to Grow and Care
The key to growing successful Jatropha is to achieve the proper balance between moisture and drainage. They typically appreciate a steady water supply, but the most popular species cannot tolerate being submerged or soaked and will quickly succumb to root rot. Many of the popular species make excellent small trees for a conservatory or sunny corner. Keep them well pruned so they don't outgrow their space too soon. Jatrophas are vulnerable to pests, including aphids, mealy bugs, scale, and whitefly. If possible, identify the infestation as early as possible and treat with the leave toxic option.
Jatropha can be propagated by seed or by stem cuttings. To take stem cuttings, remove a small piece of stem, dip it in rooting hormone, then put into a small pot with seedling starter soil. Place in a warm, bright place and wait for new growth to emerge.
Repot Jatropha annually, at the beginning of the growing season. Many species are naturally small shrubs, ranging up to 15 feet (4.5 m) in height. To keep your indoor container plant manageable, trim it to size and possibly root prune older plants. Much larger plants should be refreshed occasionally by removing the top several inches of potting soil and replacing it with fresh potting soil. See more at How to Grow and Care for Jatropha.
Native to Cuba and Hispaniola.
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