Photo Credit: Holly Tuxbury

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Interesting Facts

Jatropha is a member of the Euphorbiaceae plant family and like other plants of the same family Jatrophas produce a milky sap if injured.  Not all plants in the Euphorbiaceae family will produce a sap that can irritate the skin, but the milky latex that exudes from the injured plant parts of Jatropha can.

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Buddha Belly Plant   (Jatropha podagrica)

Bottle Plant

Jatropha is native to South Africa, Madagascar, and tropical North, Central, and South America, as well as the West Indies.

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Plant Types: Interior Plant, Perennial, Succulent
Light: Full Sun
Height: 1 foot 8 inches
Width: 10 inches
Zones: 10a to 15b
Bloom Color: Red
Bloom Seasons: Early spring, Mid spring, Late spring, Early summer, Mid summer, Late summer, Mid winter, Late winter
Special Features: All or parts of this plant are poisonous
Shape: Upright or erect
Fertilizer: Miracle-Gro® Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food
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Plant Care

Propagate from the seed in spring or summer at 75°F (24°C).

Plant Growth:

Succulent perennials and evergreen shrubs, found in dry or semi-moist habitats. Grows best in full sun. Where temperatures drop below 50°F (10°C), raise plants in a warm greenhouse or conservatory. A warm greenhouse has a minimum temperature of 55°F (13°C). During the day, temperatures should be set to 55-64°F (13-18°C) or above, and at night, the temperature should be at 55°F (13°C). In warmer areas, grow plants as hedges or in shrub borders.


Blooms diurnal flowers in summer with prominent petals.

Soil and Irrigation:

Grows best in soil that is moderately fertile, humus-rich, gritty and sharpy drained. Indoor plants do well with a blend of 2 parts soil-based potting mix and 1 part each of leaf mold and grit. Try to keep plants completely dry in fall and winter.


Needs moderately fertile soil. Apply a balanced liquid fertilizer monthy during the spring and summer months.


Remove crossing or wayward shoots in late winter or early spring to maintain a healthy framework.


Scale insects and mealybugs can cause problems. Also prone to mushroom root rot, rust, and fungal leaf spots.