This subtropical evergreen shrub or small tree has glossy leaves and clusters of star shaped bright scarlet or vermilion flowers. The plant has a rounded or narrow domed form. The flowers are about 1 inch across and borne in multi–flowered terminal clusters slightly above the foliage almost all year round when growing in full sun to partial shade. Jatropha is a spectacular shrub in bloom, which is most of the year in warmer portions of the state, and spring to frost in colder locations. This super patio plant tolerates heat and drought while still looking good.
Exposure: Best flowering is in full sun, but plants will still remain attractive in partial shade
Size: In tropical climates plants may grow 8 to 10 feet tall, but as patio plants or summer annuals they are usually 3 to 5 feet tall
Plant type: Summer annual where winters are cold, woody shrub along the coast and in south Texas
Planting time: Spring after danger of frost is past
Soil type: Adapted to most well drained garden soils and can be grown in a variety of potting mixes; soil pH adaptable; responds well to supplemental fertilization
Suggested uses: Use it as a summer accent where frosts are frequent or in a mixed shrub border where winters are warm; this plant makes a fine container plant on the patio or at poolside, which attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.
Special notes: Firecracker Jatropha is slow to wilt and quick to recover from drought stress once watered; the dark lustrous green leaves are the perfect foils for the red to pink flowers and leaves come in unlobed, one–lobed or two–lobed forms all on the same plant; fruit are reported to be poisonous but appear to be seldom produced in most of our region; avoid poorly drained soils; foliage can be sensitive to damage by some insecticides
For further information: Jumping Jatropha, A Spicy Plant For Hot Spots!