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Ricinus - Common Castor Beans

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The common Castor Oil Plant or Ricinus communis are shrubs with palmate foliage reaching a height of 2m (7ft). They are very unique in the midst of a summer flower bed! Originally from tropical regions, these plants grow very quickly and develop large green or dark purple, highly divided and toothed leaves. In August, the insignificant flowers give way to small round, spiky, toxic purple, blood-red or green fruits. Castor Oil Plants thrive in deep, rich soils with the addition of manure or compost at planting, and a very sunny and warm location, but sheltered from strong winds. There is only one species of Ricinus communis with about ten varieties. The 'Carmencita Rouge' with purple foliage is a wonderful plant, the 'Sanguineus' with blood-red fruits is simply delightful and the 'Zanzibar' which reaches a height of 3 to 4m (10 to 13ft), with green fruits and leaves is jaw dropping. Tip: Castor Oil Plants tend to become sparse at the base, so plant annuals like Petunias around them.

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