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Jatropha Podagrica - Buddah Belly Plant, Gout Plant, Tartogo: ?s

Posted by novaplantguy_z7b_8a Alexandria, VA 7B/8A (My Page) on
Tue, Jul 8, 08 at 14:45

Hello everyone,

I don't often post in this particular forum, as I don't have too many true tropicals that are not at least somewhat cold hardy, such as Windmill palm, and a few different varieties of Banana that are corm hardy here in my area / zone.

One of the few true tropicals I do have, is also my favorite plant, and its the Jatropha Podagrica. I have posted a few pics of it below. I have had this plant for 2 and 1/2 years now and it has done fantastically well. It was only about 8" tall w hen I got it, but it is now nearly 2 feet tall. It has always been healthy, and has produced blooms just about year round, and true to form, blooming more prolifically during the summer months, and not so much in winter. It has yet to lose ALL of its leaves during winter however. It usually holds one to three leaves during winter. Right now, its going though its big summer growth flush and has 8 leaves, with more on the way, and one blooming bloom spike with another on the way. While it blooms profusely, it has yet to produce any of the "popping" or "exploding" seed pods. One other thing I have found odd about this plant, is that it has stayed with just one singular trunk, and has not branched. I know that when they age / grow, they do tend to produce at least one or two more branches.

My questions about this plant are as follows: How does this plant pollinate? Do I need to have two plants ( one male, one female) to do this? Or does this plant carry blooms of both sex and one plants blooms can pollinate eachother? I would like to get some seeds of this great plant, but to date, I have been unsuccessful. I have attempted to research this plant, but I have found no thing on propagation other than it can be done via seeds or, some places say cuttings.

Secondly, can this plant in fact be propagated by cutting, and if so, where along its stem should it be cut, and, will cutting it force it to produce branches?

Thanks for any help!

There are 3 photos below. The first one was taken in August of 2006, the latter two were taken TODAY. You can see how much it has grown in the almost 2 years between photos.

Thanks again!

~ NPG


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Jatropha Podagrica - Buddah Belly Plant, Gout Plant, Tartogo:

Mine just finished blooming - they are such a neat-looking plant.


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RE: Jatropha Podagrica - Buddah Belly Plant, Gout Plant, Tartogo:

Thanks! Yes they are fantastic plants! I love em!

So anyone out there have more experience with them and can answer the questions I posed above?

I did some across a LARGE Buddah Belly down next to the Smithsonian Arts & Industries building (next to the Smithsonian Castle). They have a large collection of tropicals, palms, and cycads that they trot outdoors every year, and seems to grow every year. The one they have is rather large, about 4' tall and has several branches. It had many flower spikes on it, and on the very top flower spike, there were two seed pods that were still light green, but big. They did however have one other, much smaller plant, so it did not help to answer my question much.


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RE: Jatropha Podagrica - Buddah Belly Plant, Gout Plant, Tartogo:

I've had several seed pods form but the majority of the spent blooms just drop. I have a few plants and have no idea if they require cross pollination. Maybe they do since your single plant has not produced any seeds. The pop is definitely audible. lol The seeds can also shoot a good 30 feet away from the plant. BTW mine are still single stemmed as well and are about the same size as yours.
Karyn


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RE: Jatropha Podagrica - Buddah Belly Plant, Gout Plant, Tartogo:

One of my BB plants has a couple seed pods on it now. Sorry that the pic is blurry.
Karyn





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RE: Jatropha Podagrica - Buddah Belly Plant, Gout Plant, Tartogo:

Thanks for the replies! Yeah, I still don't know if it requires cross pollination with another plant or not either.

It appears, from the few I have seen in real life in bloom, and from photos, that the seed pods only form where the larger central blooms are like in your pic. Those bigger blooms tend to open first. The smaller blooms up on the smaller coral colored branches dont seem to produce any pods. Maybe there are both male and female flowers on a single plant.

Mine has 2 flower "spikes" on it right now, one is in full bloom, the other one is just now starting to bloom, and the plant is putting up new leaves like crazy. Its definately been very healthy this whole time. The growth rate and flower production definitely speeds way up during summer. I just hope I can get some actual seeds from it. But as you say, the big central flowers usually just fall off before any seeds form, and the spike just kinda dies.


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RE: Jatropha Podagrica - Buddah Belly Plant, Gout Plant, Tartogo:

Ok, so I think Ive finally gotten the answer to my question! I do NOT think you need to cross it with another plant. I think its able to do it on its own, meaning it probably has male and female flowers on the same plant. Mine is now actually setting 4 seed pods off of the current bloom spike. this is the FIRST year I have had it outdoors during the summer, so I think maybe I never got seeds before because the flowers never got pollinated. I have noticed there are a certain kind of very small bee that are attracted to the flowers and spend alot of time rooting around down in the blooms. I guess that is what is pollenating it. Ill post some pics in the next few days of the seed pods, and ill try to get a pic of the little tiny bees that seem to love the flowers.


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RE: Jatropha Podagrica - Buddah Belly Plant, Gout Plant, Tartogo:

Just an update:

I got seed pods! So I guess my question is answered. These plants are in deed able to pollinate from the blooms of just one plant. Based on what I have seen, the flowers that produce the seed bods are the 2-4 larger flowers, that occur down in the axis of the "branches" on which most of the other flowers occur. The flowers that occur in these axis are typically much larger than the blooms at the tips of the branches. I guess that should be a good indicator of both male and female flowers on the same plant.

Now that I have got the pods, I just hope I can catch them right, before the explode the seed 10 feet away never to be found! Its my understanding that when the pods turn brown is when they are just about ready to pop. Does anyone know this for sure?

Anyway, here are a couple photos of my seed pods:


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RE: Jatropha Podagrica - Buddah Belly Plant, Gout Plant, Tartogo:

Congrats on the seed pods. Mine are in a greenhouse and I don't know if anything is flying around in there or not. I cut stockings and tie a piece around the flower stalk once the seeds look mature. I wait until everything except the seed pods have dropped from the stalk. I actually have them wrapped now. The seeds are next to impossible to find if the pods explode because they shoot so far away.
Karyn


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RE: Jatropha Podagrica - Buddah Belly Plant, Gout Plant, Tartogo:

I just saw this thread and have to say they do not need another plant to pollinate.
I had only 1, about 2 years old, outside in a pot. It had several seed pods last summer which apparently popped, because this spring I found 2 seedlings sprouting in the bed next to the pot and 1 in the same pot.
Now I have 4!
Probably could have started a nursery of them if I had paid attention as the seeds were ripening!


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RE: Jatropha Podagrica - Buddah Belly Plant, Gout Plant, Tartogo:

My pods opened. I guess I wrapped them just in time. I planted 6 seeds but have no idea how long they take to germinate. I'll probably have to get out the seed mat because the temps will be dropping here before too long and I won't start running the GH heater for quite a while.
Karyn


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RE: Jatropha Podagrica - Buddah Belly Plant, Gout Plant, Tartogo:

Hello All, Happy New Year!

I was just wondering about updates from those of you who got seeds and planted them. How long did it take for them to germinate, and what exactly did you do to get them to germinate. I lost all of my first sets of seeds as I did not get to bag the pods in time. Im wondering if next spring I will find some baby buddah bellies coming up outside. I did however have 1 more seed pod that was later than all the rest, and that one exploded indoors and I was able to get 4 seeds from it.

what is the best way to get them to germinate, and how long should I expect this to take?

My plant that is pictured in previous posts, decided NOT to go totally dormant this winter. I brought it in when night time temps were dipping to around 35-40F, and it was fine. It did shed over half of its leaves, the older ones, but the newer ones stayed on, and it is still pushing up new leaves, as well as flower spikes, though both of which are considerably smaller than they were this summer. The leaves this summer approached dinner plate size, and the flower stalks were about 1 -2 feet long, where as now the leaves are about 1/2 the size they were or smaller, and the flower spikes are getting to around 6-8" tall.

I have been watering it much less, but it is in a south facing window and does get lots of sun for several hours per day.

Anyway, just wondering about how yours are doing?

~ NPG


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RE: Jatropha Podagrica - Buddah Belly Plant, Gout Plant, Tartogo:

These germinate quickly and are easy to grow. Besides insects I think humingbirds pollinate the flowers. If you cut the head off the plant will branch but probably best to do it in warm weather when the plant is starting to grow for the season. Down here it is a plant that is happy with our long dry season, it does not need to be watered. chris


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RE: Jatropha Podagrica - Buddah Belly Plant, Gout Plant, Tartogo:

Out of the 6 seeds that I planted 4 grew. I kept two. The stems are about 5" and still light green. One has 2 leaves, the other 4.


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RE: Jatropha Podagrica - Buddah Belly Plant, Gout Plant, Tartogo:

Thanks for the replies! Karyn, how long did they take to germinate? Just wondering. Thanks!


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RE: Jatropha Podagrica - Buddah Belly Plant, Gout Plant, Tartogo:

I can't remember exactly but seem to recall 2 of the seeds coming up fairly quick, maybe 2 or 3 weeks and the others were probably up within another 4 weeks. I should have written it down but knowing me I would have lost the paper it was written on. lol


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RE: Jatropha Podagrica - Buddah Belly Plant, Gout Plant, Tartogo:

I grow lots of these but have found, that when planted outside, they will only last 2 years.
The seeds will germinate within two weeks.


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RE: Jatropha Podagrica - Buddah Belly Plant, Gout Plant, Tartogo:

Well, I planted the seeds today, 4 of them. In just 24 hours they have already swollen up on one end and appear to have a green bulge like structure poking out. It appears to me that that would be the "leaf" end of the seed. It is the fatter end. I will post some photos of them as soon as they really sprout, but for now it looks like it is not going to take too long. Thanks for the updates on yours! Karyn, if you have any photos of your seedlings that would be awesome! Thanks!


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RE: Jatropha Podagrica - Buddah Belly Plant, Gout Plant, Tartogo:

Hi all - I have a question. I have one of these plants & it bloomed wildly last summer & grew in size quite a bit. It went dormant & was inside and was fine. About a week ago, the weather got warm and there was sun, so I took it out on the porch & gave it some water. Yesterday, the temperature dropped, but not as low as other times when it's been out (about 40 degrees). Anyway, I brought it inside today since the temperature is beginning to drop & will be low through the weekend (I'm in Missouri). When I brought it in, it had a soft spot high up on the trunk - maybe a sign of rot! This happened almost overnight! Is there anything I can do? I haven't watered it since the nice weather (about a week ago), but the soil is still damp. Is the plant doomed?


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RE: Jatropha Podagrica - Buddah Belly Plant, Gout Plant, Tartogo:

I'd make sure it's kept consistantly warm and let it dry out until the foliage starts growing. Keep an eye on the soft spot. If it seems to be spreading you might want to trim it below the soft spot.


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RE: Jatropha Podagrica - Buddah Belly Plant, Gout Plant, Tartogo:

Thanks for the response. I've been watching closely & since my post, the soft spot began to spread & fast. I took a bold step & cut the plant below the soft spot. I'm not sure if it can live through this. It was the bulbous part of the trunk, so I have no idea what will happen. I figured it was the only choice - it was going to just die of the spreading rot. I could find no information about whether or not this would actually kill the plant.

When I know what's happening, I'll let everyone know. I'm sooo bummed. . . . .


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RE: Jatropha Podagrica - Buddah Belly Plant, Gout Plant, Tartogo:

I hope it survives. Make sure you don't water it until you see some growth appear. You can dust the cut end with a fungicide. I don't know if it will help or not but I treat the cuts on many of my thick stemmed plants.


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RE: Jatropha Podagrica - Buddah Belly Plant, Gout Plant, Tartogo:

Ok I read all of the postings, my question is why isn't
the Belly growing the plant is getting taller it's healthy
and has flowers and leaves. But I would like for the Belly
to grow, should I put it in a shallow pot?


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RE: Jatropha Podagrica - Buddah Belly Plant, Gout Plant, Tartogo:

I have a Jatropha that has been without any leaves since the spring. One of it's branch stubs has the appearance of life.... But no active growth in over 7 months. Does anyone know if these guys can be forced? Thanks, Steve


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RE: Jatropha Podagrica - Buddah Belly Plant, Gout Plant, Tartogo:

I have 2 Jatropha (gout plants) Mine are the one in the ground 7 feet tall and blooms very well. The blooms are white shaving brush type.with yellow stamens. I jus topped it this year and made cuttings. I also have a 6 footer in a pot. This one has yet to bloom. You mention yours blooming but the picture of the seeds is not the same as my bloom area. Let me know
Bill Kemp


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