Striking Castor Bean Garden Plants
Castor bean garden plants, which are not beans at all, are commonly grown in the garden for their striking foliage as well as shade cover. Castor bean garden plants grows fast, reaching 6 to 10 feet tall in a few months. In U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11, it grows as a perennial, but with the fast growth rate it works well as an annual in frost-prone areas. As far back as 4,000 B.C., castor bean garden plants have been found in ancient Egyptian tombs. The valuable oil from this tropical beauty was used thousands of years ago to light lamp wicks. Castor bean plantation businesses still exist today, though mainly in tropical regions. Many varieties of ornamental castor beans are available and make a bold statement in any garden. In tropical regions, it grows as an evergreen shrub or tree that can reach 40 feet in height. In warm areas, this striking plant is grown as an annual. This plant can grow from seedling to a 10-foot tall plant by the end of the summer but will die back with the first frost. In USDA planting zone 9 and above, castor bean plants grow as perennials that look like small trees.
Growing castor bean garden plants is extremely easy. Castor bean seeds start readily indoors and will grow very rapidly. Castor plants like full sun and humid conditions. Provide loamy, moist, but not soaking wet, soil for best results. Soak seeds overnight to aid with germination. In warmer areas, or once the soil can be worked and the threat of frost has passed, castor bean seeds can be sown directly into the garden.