Red Castor Bean 'Carmencita'

Ricinus communis

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



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:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

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:



Arley, Alabama

Huntsville, Alabama

Mobile, Alabama

Vincent, Alabama

Chandler, Arizona

Glendale, Arizona

Kingman, Arizona

Mesa, Arizona

Queen Creek, Arizona

Blytheville, Arkansas

Amesti, California

Encinitas, California

Lompoc, California

Los Angeles, California

Palm Springs, California

San Francisco, California

San Leandro, California

Vacaville, California

Bartow, Florida (2 reports)

Defuniak Springs, Florida

Dunnellon, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida (2 reports)

Ocala, Florida

Sarasota, Florida

Winter Haven, Florida (2 reports)

Carrollton, Georgia

Clarkston, Georgia

Commerce, Georgia

Villa Rica, Georgia

Hilo, Hawaii

Chadwick, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois

Collinsville, Illinois

La Grange Park, Illinois

Mount Prospect, Illinois

Zion, Illinois

Highland, Indiana

Davenport, Iowa

Brookville, Kansas

Osage City, Kansas

Alexandria, Kentucky

Frankfort, Kentucky

Shepherdsville, Kentucky

Lake Charles, Louisiana

Berwick, Maine

Cumberland, Maryland

Brown City, Michigan

Dearborn Heights, Michigan

Winona, Minnesota

Rienzi, Mississippi

Smithville, Mississippi

Blue Springs, Missouri

Saint Louis, Missouri

Saint Peters, Missouri

Warrensburg, Missouri

Missoula, Montana

Dover, New Hampshire

Plainfield, New Jersey

Tuckerton, New Jersey

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Roswell, New Mexico

Spencer, New York

Wallkill, New York

Williamson, New York

Kure Beach, North Carolina

Rowland, North Carolina

Cincinnati, Ohio

Columbia Station, Ohio

Dundee, Ohio

Hulbert, Oklahoma

Jay, Oklahoma

Portland, Oregon

Salem, Oregon

Central City, Pennsylvania

Lansdowne, Pennsylvania

Mercer, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Conway, South Carolina

Fair Play, South Carolina

Murrells Inlet, South Carolina

North Augusta, South Carolina

North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Okatie, South Carolina

Summerville, South Carolina

Sumter, South Carolina

Cookeville, Tennessee

Lafayette, Tennessee

Mc Minnville, Tennessee

Aransas Pass, Texas

Austin, Texas (3 reports)

Brownsville, Texas

Collinsville, Texas

Elgin, Texas

Flower Mound, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas (4 reports)

Garland, Texas

Houston, Texas

Humble, Texas

Hutchins, Texas

Madisonville, Texas

Quitman, Texas

Richmond, Texas

San Antonio, Texas (2 reports)

Santa Fe, Texas

Wichita Falls, Texas

Provo, Utah

Springdale, Utah

Castlewood, Virginia

Elkton, Virginia

Mc Lean, Virginia

Clarkston, Washington

Kalama, Washington

Port Orchard, Washington

Sumner, Washington

Racine, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Sep 5, 2016, Illig1 from Redwood City, CA wrote:

Like everybody else, I have had unbelievable luck with this plant self-sowing. A seed hitchhiked from my old house and then sowed itself in an unwatered area (below the watered area) in my garden. The plants have now colonized the hillside and are marching along the slope to make a stunning hedge which is a backdrop to the planted areas. They get zero water and zero attention and look fantastic!!


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 Aug 10, 2012, greatman from Flower Mound, TX wrote:

I love this plant!!!
Its nice to always look forward to seeing it outside my windows every morning, and I get a lot of great complements on how beautiful it is


On Nov 3, 2011, binkysgarden from Smithville, MS (Zone 8a) wrote:

After the tornado struck our town, I was able to return to our old home place and find that the seeds survived the disaster and had begun to grow. I dug every one of the plants that I could up and took them to our new home, where we live at now. They make a great transplant plant and have out grown all of the other plants and shrubs that we have planted here right now. We just had a few frosty nights recently and they even survived that. If you looking for a plant that will survive just about anything this would be a great one. Very easy to grow and maintenance free. I absolutely love these plants!! :o)


On Aug 10, 2010, dgarden11 from Quitman, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Easy to grow, plant the seed after the last frost and when the soil has warmed. Grows fast, especially with water and a bit of balanced fertilizer to get it going. Great where needed for shade, I have planted 2-3 feet out from house against west facing windows for much needed summer shade - I can keep my blinds/drapes open and watch their purple trunks and leaves sway in the breeze. Lovely. They are tall - above the gutters - maybe 13 feet now (in August). Be aware of their toxicity (like many other garden plants), and wash your hands/arms after working with them.


On Jul 8, 2010, dianne99 from Brookville, KS (Zone 5b) wrote:

I have four annuals I grew from seed obtained in a trade here, and every leaf is different than every other leaf. Only one came true reddish and it is blooming, one pink and two green. Do not plant these too early, probably with corn. Mine never took off last year because it didn't get hot like usual--good trade-off tho!


On Jul 29, 2009, rentman from Frankfort, KY (Zone 6a) wrote:

As a kid in Florida we would pick clusters of these seed and throw them at each other, brings back old memories, Oh what kids will do.
I grow it each year, here in Kentucky, but I must remember to 'stake' it next year because when we get a good wind they blow over.


On Mar 3, 2009, thetripscaptain from Durango, CO wrote:

This is an easy and fast growing plant. The big leaves give it a tropical look, although I am always afraid that my neighboors are going to mistake it for Cannabis. I didn't get any flowers on mine last lear, perhaps the pot was too small and the plant couldn't grow fully... oh well, spring is right around the corner eh?


On Mar 2, 2009, nonigardens from Provo, UT wrote:

We use this plant every year in the tropical area of our gardens. It readily reseeds itself, but we plant a few seeds just to make sure we have enough. When the seedlings come up, we move them around to where we want them and watch them shoot up. By midsummer we have beautiful tropical looking plants to enjoy here in our Noni Gardens.


On Mar 2, 2009, Rexmark from Auckland,
New Zealand wrote:

Hello from New Zealand - Auckland has a marine climate, warm, with little frost. Some 50 years ago,as a teenager, I noted this unusual small tree, profusely growing wild on waste land, and planted one in my garden in rich volcanic soil. Then I descovered that it was highly toxic, and pulled it out 20 years later. Since then, I have been trying to get rid of the hundreds of domant seeds that sprout every spring. None make it to flowering, but even thirty years later, I am still at it - today I pulled out twenty seedlings. Interesting colour and form, but the down side is toxicity and rampant growth in my climate, so not recommended - Rex


On Jun 15, 2008, skaz421 from Wesley Chapel, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I love this plant.

I just transferred one - about a foot tall. I didn't get any soil when I dug it up - just bare root. All the foliage wilted away, but after a few days, it looks as though it's growing new leaves - I think it's going to be OK!


On Apr 25, 2008, CLScott from Calgary,
Canada wrote:

This is grown as an annual up in Alberta,Canada. Any sign of flowers on them are removed in my garden because I have pre-schoolers visiting my garden. The seeds (beans) are toxic!


On Feb 8, 2008, BotanicalBoi from Carrollton, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

Even though this site says not to over water, this plant grows best for me in my bog garden. Last year it reached well above 8ft! Love this one!


On Feb 4, 2008, waterboyrick from Alexandria, KY wrote:

Here in Kentucky, many people know these unusual plants as mole bean plants. I've never seen the plant available commercially. My family has joked about them for many years. Seeds look like fat ticks, but they are easily gathered in fall for the next season, or simply let them self sew. My father-inlaw suggested them to me years ago to control moles. He said "moles will stay away from any area with these plants near as moles hate them". Ha , ha, ha ! So I tried them in my garden and they seemed to attract even more moles. It is deffinetly an eye catcher. I've always said it has a "pre-historic" look. My experience is they will tolerate very poor high clay soils and thrive anyway. Now an anual requirement in my garden.


On Oct 12, 2007, macybee from Deer Park, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

This genus from northeastern Africa and southwestern Asia contains a single species, a fast-growing, tree-like shrub grown for its foliage. The spikes of small, cup-shaped flowers appear in summer. All parts of the plant, especially the seeds are extremely poisonous and can cause death in children; however, the seed oil is used medicinally after heat treatment and purification.
Cultivation: This marginally frost-hardy plant prefers full sun and fertile, humus-rich, well-drained soil. It may need staking. Propagate from seed.
Ricinus communis - Castor Oil Plant
The purgative of universal renown comes from the seeds of this species, which is mostly grown as an annual. Rounded, prickly seed pods follow the summer display of felty clusters of red and greeni... read more


On Jul 28, 2006, Connie_G from Austin, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I planted a 3 inch CB in April, and it's now 4 feet tall in late July! I will always plants these from now on...the flowers are just amazingly ornate and unusual! They remind me of the little pom-poms our dresses were ornamented with as a child!
I'm with someone else who posted earlier...I don't consider a plant "invasive" just because it grows fast and self-seeds! It's easy to pull up the seedlings...that's just nature's way!! Invasive to me means undergrown roots that disappear...pop up...impossible to weed Bermuda grass when you don't want it! LOL


On Feb 2, 2005, cetude from Winter Haven, FL wrote:

I don't know why people consider these "invasive". I think they are purely gorgeous plants and you have complete control over them. If you want a small plant-keep it in a flower pot. It really won't grow any larger than you let it. I've had the same castor bean plant for several years and the only way it produces new plants is if I plant the seeds and care for them. Otherwise the seeds just fall off and die.
It looks like a tropical mini tree--or it can be as short as a two feet. Once established in the ground, it's pretty hardy (freeze resistent) and tolerates dry conditions. BUT you have to really care for the seedlings and juvenile plants. When the plants are small they die easy. After the plant reaches about 6" or so it becomes very strong.


On Nov 15, 2004, 8ftbed from Zion, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

The first year I grew them, my son came in one day and asked why I had fake plants in the yard when I had so much other stuff!!
Start from seed in ground after last frost or indoors and transplant. But with the growth rate (IF enough sun,fertilizer,water are available) you're just as well planting in ground. Even though they're not hardy on the ILL/WI border, I've discovered they can successfully self-seed. For extra winter interest, do NOT cut them down. After the first good frost, I snap off all leafs at the trunk and cut off any leaders that do not have seed pods. The maroon trunks with the bright red spiky seed pods get even more comments and hold color well into the dead of winter.
An absolutely fantastic plant for so little investment.


On Aug 21, 2004, jstrann from Garland, TX wrote:

These plants cannot survive freezing weather. I gather my seed in the fall. About 6 weeks before the last frost, I plant the seed in peat pots and place in a sunny window. By the time we have our last frost, the plants are approximately 6" high. Plant in a sunny area, they love water when they're young and watch them grow! Some of my castors have gotten as tall as 15 feet high with trunk diameters of 4-5" and leaf spans of up to 28", These are awesome plants although they are to be treated as annuals in this area. Tree frogs love these plants!


On Apr 26, 2004, MotherNature4 from Bartow, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

We grew this plant in our vegetable garden one summer. It was recommended to control rootknot nematodes, but didn't seem to work. Knowing it is invasive, we were careful to cut off the blooms so it would not form seeds.


On Apr 25, 2004, polaris93 from Highland, IN (Zone 6a) wrote:

I,ve been growing these monster plants for about 20 years. i got the seeds from my father he use to grow them in the yard for moles the seeds came from down south, i have had good luck with the plants growing them out by the main highway i get a lot of talk about the plants, a lot of people asking about seeds, i let my plants seed ever fall,thay allways grow back each year.


On Sep 16, 2003, Karenn from Mount Prospect, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

In my zone 4B/5A garden this is obviously an annual - but I planted this from a 3" pot in late spring and it is now 7 feet tall and still going strong (Sept. 16th)! Is is in the front of my home on the north side, just off one side of my front door. The son of my next-door neighbor (he's 30ish) said, "You have a mutant plant growing in your yard!" I just laughed, knowing fully the potential size of this! And I am indeed delighted! It has been at least 2 years since I have been so entertained by something growing in my gardens! This plant is indeed worth growing even as an annual, if you enjoy "shock value" or "amazement" reactions!


On Sep 15, 2003, Minnock wrote:

I got this seed from my grandmother, planted it in the spring. This plant is now about 6 feet tall and really pretty.