Jatropha (Jatropha) is directly related to the family Molochaceae (Euphorbiaceae). This genus is represented by shrubs, trees, and herbaceous plants that have milky sap. In nature can be found in tropical regions of Africa and America. Its name is derived from the Greek words Jatrys for "doctor" and tropha for "food". Jatropha is a very unusual plant.
It has a bottle-shaped stem. It is naked throughout the winter, but in early spring it develops umbrella-like flower stalks consisting of small red flowers. After a while, leaves that have long petioles begin to grow. Jatropha is very difficult to find in flower stores.
If you wish, you can try to find it at flower growers who collect succulents, as well as in botanical gardens.
Very expensive is the species Jatropha large, but it is very easy to take care of such a plant.
This plant can bring a highlight to any interior not worse than bonsai. Its flowering is regular, and bright umbrellas on long stems look quite spectacular. Often the Jatropha starts flowering first and then it grows broad-bladed leaves with long petioles 10-20 centimeters long.
Home care of Jatropha
How to place in a well-lit sunny place, but with good shade from direct sun rays.
East or west facing windows are best. A newly purchased plant needs to be gradually accustomed to bright light, since burns may appear on the leaves. The same applies to plants after a long period of overcast weather.
In the summer time suitable air temperature should be at 18-22 degrees and in the winter time 14-16 degrees. In winter, the jatropha will suit the normal room temperature, and this makes care much easier.
It grows and develops quite normally at low humidity in city apartments, no spraying is necessary. For hygienic purposes, you should wipe the leaf plates systematically with a moistened sponge.
How to water
The plant should be watered moderately in spring and summer. The water should be well-drained and soft. Water after the topsoil has dried.
Make sure that there is no stagnant water in the soil, as it can quickly rot on the Jatropha. With the onset of winter, watering should be reduced. If in the autumn or winter time all the leaves fall off, stop watering completely. Water normally at the beginning of spring after the young shoots have appeared.
Feed in spring and summer once every 4 weeks.
Cactus fertilizer is used for this purpose. During winter fertilization must be stopped.
A suitable soil mixture is made up of sod and leaf earth as well as sand and peat in a 1:2:1:1 ratio.
Transplant in spring once every 2 or 3 years. Use low, wide containers for transplanting.
Make a good drainage layer at the bottom.
Propagate by cuttings or seeds. Remember that seeds lose their germination rate very quickly, so it may be difficult to obtain them.
Seed settingof such a plant can also occur when growing at home. However, the flowers will need artificial pollination.
To do this, use a soft brush to gently transfer pollen from the male flowers to the female flowers. The hallmark of a male flower is the stamens, which have a lot of yellowish pollen on their surface. It is worth bearing in mind that female flowers open first and so pollination should be carried out at the very beginning of flowering. If pollinated successfully, the fruits are an oval green one and a half centimeters long with 2 or 3 long seeds inside. As the fruit matures, it turns dark and then breaks off, scattering the seeds in different directions at a distance of up to 100 centimeters.
In this regard, the fruit should be placed in a gauze bag beforehand.
A mixture consisting of leaf and turf soil, peat, and sand, which should be taken in equal proportions, is used for sowing. The seeding is done superficially. The temperature of the substrate must be kept at 25 degrees. Cover the container with glass and put it in a warm place.
After 7-14 days the first shoots will appear. Seedlings are planted in separate containers. They grow very fast. And after just a few months, they already differ little from adult specimens. At first, the leaves have a rounded shape, then they become wavy.
Two years after sowing, the leaf plates become lobed. The thickening of the trunk occurs gradually. The plant will flower for the first time in its 2nd year of life.
Raising can be done by single woody tree cuttings. The cuttings are left outdoors to dry out and then treated with a root-stimulating agent (e.
g. heteroauxin). Plant the cuttings in an earth mixture consisting of humus and turf soil and sand, taken in equal proportions. The required temperature is 28 to 32 degrees. Rooting occurs after 4 weeks.
Planting the cuttings that have given roots is carried out in pots with a diameter of 7 centimeters.
Diseases and pests
- Root rot, flower death - too abundant watering. It should be more sparing.
- Yellowing and dying leaves - Spider mites have settled. The plant should be moistened at least 2 or 3 times a day with tepid water from a sprayer.
If the infestation is severe, it is necessary to treat the Jatropha with an insecticide of appropriate action.
- Flowers are deformed and die off - Thrips are settled. Give the plant a warm shower and treat with a suitable insecticide.
- Slow growth - excessive fertilizer in the soil. Fertilizing should be done rather cautiously.
The substrate should be well moistened before fertilizing.
- Root rotting, leaves becoming colorless and wilting - Too cold water is used for watering. It is recommended that the water be heated slightly.
Unusual indoor flowers Jatropha, or bottle tree.
It is a compact bush that can be 200-300 centimeters high.
The spectacular leaves are divided into 7-11 parts, while reaching 30 centimeters in diameter. The dark green leaf plate has a slight bluish cast and a light green central part. After a while they die off, with the lower part of the trunk remaining bare. Young specimens resemble a small very showy palm.
Flowers have a rich coral-red coloration.
They are gathered in umbrella-shaped inflorescences, which rise above the foliage on long pedicels that grow out of the point of growth. Under natural conditions, flowering lasts almost year-round, and is especially abundant in the hottest months. When flowering ends, triangular yellowish fruits appear, 2.5 centimeters long. Their whitish, oily flesh contains three seeds.
The centimeter-long brownish seeds are oval-shaped.
We should remember that any part of such jatropha contains highly toxic substances. If the surface of the plant is damaged, translucent sap will begin to flow, causing irritation when it comes into contact with the skin.
Jatropha podagrica (Jatropha podagrica)
This deciduous shrub is a succulent. It has a tuberous thickened trunk.
This plant has a very unusual trunk. It is thick at the base and tapers toward the top. This form of growth is found in plants of stony deserts, due to the fact that the formation of the root system is difficult and accumulation of liquid therefore occurs in the lower thickened part of the trunk. Also a distinctive feature of this species is the petioles, which are attached not to the edge of the leaflet, but closer to the middle. Jatropha reaches a height of 50 to 70 centimeters.
Its lobed leaf blades are round in shape and measure 15 to 18 centimeters in diameter. The coloring of the leaves is in direct relation to their age. Shiny young leaves have a dark green color, which becomes lighter as they grow. And after they reach their largest size, they become matte and dark green. The petiole and the underside of the leaf plate have a bluish patina.
Flowering tassels grow from the growth point, which are shaped like a compound umbrella. At first, small buds are formed, of which only a few (the largest) are visible. Their development is quite slow, and after they reach the level of foliage, their growth is greatly accelerated. The buds become brighter and then small, centimeter-diameter, reddish-coral flowers open. The florets are odorless.
There are both female and male flowers on the same inflorescence. Male flowers last only 24 hours, but after one dies off, they are replaced by new ones. Because of this, a single umbrella can bloom for several weeks. In nature, flowering of this species lasts throughout the warm season.