Castor bean plant growing instructions and pictures. The best soil and exposure for planting castor beans. Castor bean poisoning. Buy red castor bean seeds cheap.
The red castor bean is a fast-growing and striking ornamental. It is 1 of the few garden annuals that you can plant from seed in the spring and have a bushy, 10 foot tall castor bean tree by fall.
The large burgundy leaves are made even more dramatic by the prickly red seed heads which form all over the plant in late summer. The succulent stems of the castor bean plant are also deep red.
Every summer breeze will expose the attractive silvery undersides of the palm-like leaves.
There is also a green-leaved variety of Ricinus communis which bears pink seed heads. I have grown both types and greatly prefer the red castor bean. Both plants are equally easy to grow but the red variety is much larger and more beautiful.
Here, the dark foliage of the castor bean oil plant is complimented by the chartreuse leaves of the 'Margarita' sweet potato vine.
Castor bean plants prefer sun and moist, rich soil. If your soil is low in nutrients, dig in plenty of compost before sowing the seed where you want the plant to grow. Do this in the spring after the soil has warmed.
Push a single seed about an inch deep into the prepared soil. Tamp it down and water it. Keep the soil from drying out and the seed will sprout within 2 weeks.
If you are worried about loosing seedlings to the neighborhood cats or squirrels, plant several seeds a few inches apart. Once the seedlings become too large to be easily dislodged by animals, pull out the extras.
Each plant will need about 5 feet of space.
Castor bean plants grown in a hot, humid climate will be larger by the end of the growing season than those planted in a drier, cooler climate.
Castor beans are heavy feeders but not picky eaters. Feed them whatever you are feeding the plants around them, whenever you feed the rest of the garden.
Here, the red castor oil plant has been paired with an orange coneflower.
Castor bean seed contains an extremely toxic substance called ricin. This is actually a deadly protein which forms naturally in the beans.
The seeds may be handled without danger but do not ingest castor bean seeds under any circumstances.
Keep the seeds away from children and pets. As few as 3 swallowed seeds can kill a child.
The danger is increased if the seeds are chewed.
In cases of accidental castor bean poisoning, the CDC advises victims to take activated charcoal capsules to absorb the toxin in the intestines and seek medical attention if symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure, dehydration) develop.
If you do not seek medical attention, organ failure could result followed by death within 36-72 hours.
Surprisingly, there is something good that comes from castor bean seeds. Castor bean oil!
The oil of the castor bean plant is viscose and can be used topically to protect the most delicate or sensitive skin from abrasion. For post menopausal women, castor bean oil can be used as a safe, effective sexual lubricant.
It can moisturize and protect thinning tissue and make coitus more comfortable.
Castor oil is also anti-inflammatory. I rub it onto my husband's lower back whenever his sciatica flares up. I cover the oil with a piece of plastic wrap and place a heating pad on top of that.
One t.v. drama later, he's almost as good as new.
Ricinus oil is unique among plant based oils in that it is stimulating. It gets things moving.
The oil contains none of the poisonous ricin and is safe for most people to ingest occasionally. It is most commonly used as a laxative.
A tablespoon mixed into a glass of fruit juice will clear your bowels in a few hours. In fact, if you have eaten something you really should not have, this is a good way to get rid of it quickly.
Castor bean oil can be massaged into the breasts of a new mother to stimulate milk flow.
Pregnant women should not ingest castor oil or apply it topically to their abdomens because of its stimulating properties.
Another good thing castor oil can do for you is drive the moles out of your garden.
This is a safe and effective way to keep moles from tunneling through your lawn or garden beds.
It is premixed. You just attach your hose to the container and spray it on. Reapply when the effect wears off.
How long the spray remains effective depends on your weather. Frequent and heavy rains will wash the spray away in about a month. During dry weather you may be able to go for as long as 3 months before reapplying it.