Care And Propagation Of Jatropha Podagrica - Buddha's Belly - Knowledgebase Question

Bakersfield, CA
Avatar for wlyman4
Question by wlyman4
September 24, 2002
I have a Buddha's Belly plant that is thriving exceptionally well, and it is now setting seed pods [size of a green olive], and I would like to know if plants can be started from the seeds or is other type of propagation in order? I bought this earlier this summer, but no care instructions were attached and I cannot locate this in the current Sunset Garden Book. I surely will appreciate what help you can give me.
I've repotted the plant twice since purchase, using a cactus potting mix which seems to suit the plant.

Answer from NGA
September 24, 2002
Photo by bonitin
Jatropha podagrica is quickly becoming a favorite houseplant. It's an oddity in that the tall, bottle shaped stem remains bare throughout the winter, and then in early spring the flower stalks appear with a crown of small red blooms. It's quite a conversation piece!

Here's what to expect - the seeds can be harvested when the outer coverings turn a tannish brown. Save the seed and sow them in spring. The foliage of your plant will begin to wither and die soon. When that happens, stop watering the plant and allow it to rest for a few months. Keep the soil very dry during this dormancy period. After it has sufficiently rested new foliage will begin to appear. You can resume your normal watering practices. Later in the summer it will bloom and set seeds again.

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