You will receive a thick stem, no roots or leaves. This is what you need to plant once you decide which way is up – choose the side showing little buds resembling bumps 2-5 cm in diameter. These are often already shooting and showing a little green. The lower half of the stem will have none of these lumps and is usually where the stem was cut off but do pay attention because sometimes the top is cut instead – you need to use the buds as a reference.
Choose a pot with holes in the base and cover with potsherds or clay pellets. This plant just needs normal potting compost. Lay the thick Jatropha podagrica stem, buds up and at the correct depth – the lower half should be covered right up to the thickest part (so roughly a third to one half of the stem). Fill up, press firmly down and water your bottle plant immediately.
Stand the pot in full sun indoors. The thick stem will soon grow leaves at the top and roots below soil level. Flowers will appear in the warmest summer months.
yellow - TuberJatropha podagrica
Do you like flowers? Then we recommend this tropical bottle plant (Jatropha Podagrica)! Because if you water and fertilise this eye-catcher in its growth-period you’ll be spoiled for flowers for the rest of the year! The plant gets its name from the peculiar shaped stem which looks like the top of a bottle. The stem will thicken each year and new flowers will appear. Taking care of the bottle-plant is very easy! Your bottle plant comes as a tuber that needs planting in a mix of potting compost and sand.Show more
Planting and flowering details
Show moreWater Jatropha podagrica sparingly, keeping the soil barely moist. Water regularly and slightly more when in flower and feed fortnightly with a fertiliser for flowering houseplants.
Although the bottle plant can withstand drought and heat, the leaves will wither if not watered enough. The plant will look its best if you keep the soil just moist. Stand it in a light and sunny spot in the window but do avoid midday sun.
Your bottle plant will also thrive outdoors on your patio or decking in the summer.
Dormant periodThe leaves on your bottle plant tend to drop off in the winter. Time to keep the plant almost dry (water sparingly once a month only) and stand it in a cool position (10-12 degrees centigrade). An unheated bedroom is ideal.
When spring returns, stand it somewhere warmer and water more. When leaves appear again, feed it with houseplant fertiliser.
Show moreA bottle plant is an unusually lovely houseplant that originates in Latin America. This succulent stores moisture in its fat stem, making the Jatropha podagrica very drought resistant. It will often flower for months on end.
Jatropha podagrica is one of the Euphorbiaceae. Beware - the white sap is poisonous and can irritate the skin.