Ricinus communis “Blue Pod” (Castor Bean) [10 Seeds]


Cannot ship to California, Florida, or Texas; please do not order if you live in any of these states. I would also advise against ordering these seeds if you live in other southern states or in Hawaii because of their invasive potential.

Germination Information: The usual way to start castor beans is to sow the seeds indoors in mid to late spring (1 or 2 seeds in each 3- to 4-inch pot) and set in a warm, bright place for germination. Or, sow directly in the garden after your last frost date. I found that the seeds of this castor bean strain are much slower to germinate than those of other strains, however, sometimes taking several weeks.

I’d normally suggest using a heat mat to keep the seeds really warm, but that didn’t work for me. I sowed some seeds indoors on April 7; no seedlings appeared by early May, so I set the pot outside and the seeds finally started sprouting on May 29—nearly 2 months after sowing! I tried another batch indoors, sowing on May 2; again, no seedlings appeared when I expected, so I set the pot outside on May 15 and sprouting started on May 21—not quite 3 weeks that time.

My most recent experiment with the seeds involved nicking the seed coat and soaking the nicked seeds overnight, then sowing in a pot and setting it outdoors. That was on May 24, and the seeds sprouted fairly quickly (starting on June 8) and uniformly (within a period of a few days for all). So, that was about 2 weeks—the quickest results yet–and that was in quite cool outdoor conditions. I’d definitely recommend giving this approach a try. I’ll also note that with this approach, warm conditions might produce even faster results.

Once they sprout, the seedlings grow very quickly, and the plants can self-sow freely. (Clipping off the clusters of seedpods when they start to turn from blue to yellow-green or brown can help to prevent unwanted seedlings.)

Note that this information will not appear on the seed packet you receive.

Please read the description as well before ordering.

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Castor bean (Ricinus communis) is a big and bold addition to the garden, with stout, upright stems that carry large, deeply lobed leaves and clusters of not-particularly showy male and female flowers; the latter mature into spiny, rounded seedpods. The species is grown as an annual in many areas (generally reaching 5 to 7 feet tall) but can be hardy (and can be invasive) in Zones 8 to 11, where it may reach 8 to 12 feet tall. I acquired my original seeds of this strain as “blue castor bean,” and the plants turned out to have beautiful blue seedpods, as well as reddish young leaves that mature to green. One peculiar trait is that the seeds are quite small for a castor bean—about half the size of those of ‘Carmencita’, for example—though the plants are full-sized. I haven’t found any name that matches the traits of these plants, so I’m calling the strain “Blue Pod” for now. It’s an interesting choice if you enjoy growing something different! Full sun.

Be aware that the seeds of castor beans are poisonous if eaten, so obviously, don’t eat them, and keep them away from children and pets. You may also want to wash your hands after sowing. Some people may have a skin reaction to the leaves, too, so consider wearing long sleeves and gloves and/or washing thoroughly after working with the plants.

Collected in September and October 2022. At least 10 seeds. Shipping to US addresses only. Cannot ship to CA, FL, or TX. I would also advise against ordering these seeds if you live in other southern states or in Hawaii because of their invasive potential.

Please read the germination information as well before ordering.

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