Castor Bean, Caster Oil Plant 'Red Spire'

Ricinus communis

Family: Euphorbiaceae (yoo-for-bee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Ricinus (RISS-i-nus) (Info)
Species: communis (KOM-yoo-nis) (Info)
Cultivar: Red Spire

Category:

Annuals

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Foliage Color:

Burgundy

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us

Height:

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

Spacing:

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

Hardiness:

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Danger:

All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Maroon (Purple-Brown)

Bloom Time:

Late Fall/Early Winter

Foliage:

Grown for foliage

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Non-patented

Propagation Methods:

Direct sow as soon as the ground can be worked

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Regional

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Glendale, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Marysville, California

San Jose, California

North Port, Florida

Orange Park, Florida

Shepherdsville, Kentucky

Staten Island, New York

Easton, Pennsylvania

New Galilee, Pennsylvania

San Antonio, Texas

Pearisburg, Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:

1
positive
1
neutral
0
negatives
RatingContent
Neutral

On Mar 2, 2016, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This species has naturalized in 34 states. As far north as Maine, it can overwinter as a self-sowing annual.

Where it is hardy, it's a suckering perennial shrub that can reach a height of 40'.

It's a heavy producer of light air-borne pollen which is highly allergenic. It's a common trigger for hayfever and asthma. In many people, it also causes a skin rash on contact. The seed pods are spiny.

In California, Florida, and Texas, it's on the official lists of species invasive of natural habitat.

Native to the eastern Mediterranean, east Africa, and India, it's now spread to most tropical areas around the world, where it's commonly considered invasive.

Positive

On Aug 14, 2013, FlyGalsMom from Staten Island, New York City, NY (Zone 6b) wrote:

I start these in biodegradable peat pots. Not the kind that expands, as the seedlings need room for the roots. I tried that once and the seedlings were very tiny. As soon as the weather is warm enough, I transplant outside. Some have gotten as big as trees.
I live in zone 6B 7A, they do not make it through the winter.

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