Friday, September 24, 2010

Now this is what I’m talking about….

When I started my castor bean seeds last spring (late winter?) THIS is what I had visions of.This is what my biggest plant currently looks like… Insignificant! Let’s go back and stare at the big beautiful ones a bit more.
And look at those fabulous blooms.
How nice that they have these lovely concrete benches placed conveniently where one can plop down and admire the huge leaves, and dream of what these big dangerous plants would look like in their garden (look they even have a stock tank! I love these people!)
A couple of days after spotting the above plants on Alberta Street I then came face to face with this fabulous specimen in front of Garden Fever (one of my favorite nurseries).
I am such a Castor Bean failure!


  1. Is it anymore dangerous than growing datura or something like that. I so want to try this plant, just beautiful..I did not know that's what the blooms look like...delightful! Keep trying!

    1. AnonymousJuly 16, 2012

      Just get the seds put it in a paper towel moisten it and seal it a in large zip lock bags and wait for it to sprout then plant it in the pot and then then transplant it in the soil where every you like

  2. It's been a bad year weather-wise in the PNW for all the big foliage, tropical looking stuff. Maybe you needed more heat? More sun? I just looked at your picture again, and is it still in its pot? Maybe it would have done better in the ground?

  3. Darla, I am no poisonous plant expert but I wouldn't think it's any more dangerous than a Datura. But again (disclaimer) I am NOT and expert!

    Alison, hi there! Yes it is still in a pot. But I have many in the ground that are even smaller. This one is the biggest. You wouldn't even believe how small (and lame) the ones in the ground are. And they are in full sun!

  4. If it's any solace, my castor bean is as puny as yours. I have had them 6 feet tall in previous years. Alas, the weather is out of our control and obviously, as demonstrated in both of our gardens this year, they like it hot. As do I. I'm a little worried about a long grey winter.....

    Castor bean plant is hard core poisonous: I'm making sure to pull those blooms off before they drop any beans. The poison ricin is what created from those beans. There's a fascinating true story of the poison from castor beans using used in the assassination of a Bulgarian dissident. They used an umbrella to poke him on the street in London, and got a tiny bit of the poison into his leg. Dead! Beware of gardeners who grow castor beans coming at you with an umbrella tip. :)

  5. Is anyone going to eat datura or castor?? No. It is a fantastic plant....just make sure you wear gloves when handling and when those seed pods turn brown, cut them off and keep the seeds for the next year in a's a wonderful plant and I love how you have them in your garden. You are no failure.....they look great!:)

  6. It will get big! One of my neighbors has one and it's gigantic!

  7. Loree, it looks like the big castor beans are getting lots of reflected heat near concrete walls and/or pavement. This looks like a strategy worth pursuing in your cloudy summers. I wonder if the stock tanks produce this effect as well, especially when placed on concrete...

  8. I LOVE castor beans...especially the red ones. I remember while growing up, my grandma had a large patch of them in her garden...I loved playing in them, it was like being on safari. They do seem to really thrive on HEAT, HEAT, HEAT!

  9. I haven't seen castor bean in florida before, but i always see it in books and peoples blogs. It gets a bad wrap for being poisonous, but rohrerbot is right. Its not like anyones going to eat it. Theres a great book called wicked plants by amy stewart of gardenrant that everyone should read.

  10. I have not grown this, but the ones at work are doing well. I know they love heat and don't mind humidity.

  11. Any advice from Garden Fever on how they got theirs to grow so big (in a pot, no less)? I have one a bit bigger and one a lot smaller in the ground. The seed packet said they would grow to as much as 15'. I was disappointed, as I was counting on them as a vertical element. To be fair, the seeds were over a year old. Still, the leaves are fabulous (mine are redder and shinier than those bluish ones) and those red fuzzy balls...well, nuff said.

  12. Hey Danger,
    I've grown them here in Houston before and they LOVE heat, heat, and more heat. Yes,I agree with Denise, next to a brick wall on the south side would give it lots of reflective heat. Some will grow to tree size (those with green leaves). The red and bronze varieties are very ornamental, but stay smaller, though I have seen one grow up to 10 feet. The seeds are poisonous if the outer shell is dissolved by stomach acid. Because of this reputation, it's almost impossible to find a packet of seeds in garden if someone's going open the packet and have a snack. ha
    David/ Tropical Texana/ Houston

  13. Not necessarily Loree. I'm sure you're aware that there are various species of Ricinus. It's possible your seed is from a smaller growing variety. One shouldn't beat themselves up too badly. The other thing is the amount of Miracle Gro the thing has had. I've noticed that all large leaf plants need TONS of nitrogen. Pour on the Miracle Gro and stand back. [All the organic gardeners out there are cringing right now.]

  14. LeLo, worried as in you might invest in one of those special lamps for the sun deprived? Can we share it?

    rohrerbot, thank you but those plants aren't in my garden...mine aren't blooming! But maybe I will revisit the ones that are blooming and ask if I can collect a few seeds.

    MTJ, not will die as soon as the frost hits. Unfortunately. I saw them in Cali...I was amazed and jealous of how big they got!

    Denise, great observations and yes next year I will be sure to employ this technique! I did plant a couple of seedlings in the gravel in fun sun thinking this would have the same affect but perhaps too late.

    scott, I just love that your grandma let you play in them as a kid!!! I say HA! to all the folks who worry about planting a dangerous plant like these!

    RFG, I have (and love!) that book. I won it on Garden Rant...and she even autographed it!!

    Les, maybe next year I buy plants and give up on the seed thing.

    ricki, no I didn't have time to ask. The husband was waiting in the car and it was a quick in and out trip, stopping of course to take pictures. They were selling decent sized plants so I imagine that's where theirs came from. I should have bought a couple but I was trying to be good and work with what I had.

    David, ha! Yes this is why I ordered mine online, because I couldn't find the seeds locally. But maybe I'll get some insurance for next year and try to score a few of the seeds from these plants.

    Grace, nope, I ordered 2 different kinds - both reported to grow BIG! But you do have a point about the fertilizer (Miracle Gro or otherwise) I am very bad about fertilizing and don't do it nearly enough. Next year...I vow to be better next year....


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