Bottle tree (Jatropha podagrica), with water reserves: growth, maintenance

Bottle tree (Jatropha podagrica) is a multi-branched, fleshy succulent perennial, similar to euphorbias (Euphorbia), native to the tropics of Central America and the West Indies. It is very cold and afraid of frost, which explains why it is considered a houseplant in our latitudes.

Bottle tree (Jatropha podagrica), succulent close to euphorbias

The trunk is caudex-shaped, short, enlarged, stiff, and serves as a water-storage organ, enabling the plant to withstand periods of intense drought: this feature led him to give the plant its name. Beware, even the smallest cut or size of the stem can release a toxic white latex that can irritate the skin, just by contact.

From the top of this caudex tree leaves stems bearing very leathery, rounded, oval leaves that can reach 20 to 30 cm in diameter, split into 3 to 5 lobes, dark green above and colored back. blue white. Leaves fall, which is uncommon for houseplants: they fall in winter when the days are shorter and there is less light, as well as in the summer when they sometimes face drought for a long time. It’s a way to protect yourself.

In summer, long green peduncles develop at the ends of numerous small flowers 0.5 to 1 cm in diameter, unisexual, clustered in branched branches, bright red to coral red. Capsules containing large poisonous black ovoid seeds then form.

  • Family: Euphorbiaceae
  • Type: deciduous perennial plant
  • Origin: Central America, West Indies
  • Color: red flower
  • Sow: yes
  • Cut: no
  • Planting: spring
  • Flowering: summer
  • Height: 50 to 80 cm and up to 1.5 m

Ideal soil and exposure for the bottle tree

Cinderella plants grow in a place with good light but not direct sunlight on sandy soil mixed with humus, rich in humus, well drained. In the pot, this will turn into a mixture of potting soil and sand on a gravel base to help with drainage.

Date of sowing and planting bottle tree

Between March and June you will sow the seeds of the bottlewort in a sand mix, at 24°C. After a month, the pruning will be done, and then the seedlings will have to be transplanted into a pot that has always been mixed. sand.

Can be planted all year round, but best in spring: choose a higher pot than a wide pot, but it doesn’t need to be too wide. Surface renewal or repainting will be done every 3 years if necessary.

Veterinary maintenance and culture council

During the growing season, weekly watering is essential, whether the plant is grown indoors or you take it outside in the summer shade. As soon as autumn arrives, the water lines will begin to be cut off to stop when all the leaves have fallen. It will then need to be moved to a cooler (15°C) and less light place until February, where the plant is gradually re-watered and regrown for a new flowering season.

Diseases, pests and parasites of bottle mites

Mealybugs, whiteflies, and spider mites should be monitored indoors.

The location and favorable association of the bottle factory

It is a potted plant indoors or out on the patio. Outside of the tropics, she won’t do well outdoors, even on the French Riviera.

Type Jatropha There are about 170 species of which it is worth mentioning a few, apart from this species of bottle tree (Jatropha podagrica).

Coral tree (Jatropha multifida), medicinal or witch hazel is a semi-evergreen tree (7m), large leaves divided into about ten lobes and flowers clustered in clusters, coral red. It is native to Mexico, where its leaves are eaten, and its seeds are used in traditional medicine for their bleaching properties. This plant is well known for its antibacterial and antifungal properties.

Sesame oil (Jatropha curcas)

Jatropha (Sesame oil) or the green gold of the desert (photo 2), although toxic, its seeds, also known as Barbados seeds, are so rich in oil that jatropha oil can be extracted, thereby giving hope to developing countries in Asia. Africa and Central America, to turn it into biofuel in the 2000s. Unfortunately, for Jatropha’s intensive yield to be interesting, it had to be watered a lot, which was completely unprofitable. . However, these developing countries can use locality in traditional culture as an energy alternative.

Epic (Jatropha integerrima) or spicy jatropha (1.5 to 4m), native to Cuba, mainly used as an ornamental plant with its very decorative vermilion flowers.

Another species (Jatropha cilliata) contains flavonoids that have anxiolytic properties.

(photo credit 2: Ton Rulkens – CC BY-SA 2.0)

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