Purple Castor Bean 'New Zealand Purple'

Ricinus communis

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



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun



Foliage Color:




36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

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

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

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

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow after last frost

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

Seed Collecting:

Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


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

Millbrook, Alabama

Union Grove, Alabama

Glendale, Arizona

Monticello, Arkansas

Bartow, Florida

Brooksville, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Keystone Heights, Florida

Broxton, Georgia

Barbourville, Kentucky

Frankfort, Kentucky

Krotz Springs, Louisiana

Britton, Michigan

Lucedale, Mississippi

Socorro, New Mexico

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Emerald Isle, North Carolina

Hulbert, Oklahoma

Macungie, Pennsylvania

Mc Minnville, Tennessee

Belton, Texas

Brazoria, Texas

Galveston, Texas

Jacksonville, Texas

Mont Belvieu, Texas

San Antonio, Texas (2 reports)

Suffolk, Virginia

Kalama, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


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.


On May 25, 2015, bermudakiller from Union Grove, AL wrote:

It is not hardy here in Union Grove, Zone 8a or 7b, depending on who you ask, but it does self sow freely, slow to start but when it gets hot, grows very fast, reaches 8' easily and provides a nice Summer screen. It is bad for flopping by itself, so I usually sow a cluster. It does not transplant easily and if it lives rarely grows as well as direct sown seed. Here, I pick the seed stalks just before first hard frost and stick them in water for a week or two so the seeds ripen more and are likelier to sprout the next season, seed do keep quite well.


On Oct 16, 2010, mamajack from Fate, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

i started this plant from seeds this spring. and now it is over 6 ft. tall. the trunk is about 2 plus inches diameter or is that circumference?

the leaves are pretty magnificent. purple/red stalks, stems and veins. newer leaves are reddish purple and they just glow. seems like the ones facing the sun are more purple. bottom leaves are castor bean green with red veining. the leaves are huge. seed head/flowers are red.

the plant is gorgeous. i love it. i am thinking about digging it up so that i can keep the plant. i will save the seeds but sure hate to lose the plant.


On Jun 29, 2009, auntkitty from Socorro, NM (Zone 7b) wrote:

I started this from 2 year old seed and it is doing very well, if growing a little slower than I would wish. I am using it as a screen against a trellis and hoping to save seed for next year.