Jatropha is an evergreen shrub or small tree with stunning flowers that will bring butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden. There are two species of Jatropha that grow quite well in South and Central Florida, Jatropha integerrima and Jatropha multifidi. Jatropha is a tropical evergreen that has slender stems and multiple trunks. These plants can reach about 15 feet tall and have an equal spread when left unpruned. Once established, J. integerrima and J. multifida are both low maintenance and drought tolerant. Jatropha plants need well-drained soil, and while they can handle partial shade to full sun, they will flower best in areas with full sun. This plant is not salt tolerant.
Jatropha tolerate pruning well, which gives you options when it comes to the form of your plant. You can let it grow naturally into an interesting multi-trunked tree, or with some pruning, it can be trained into a fabulous espalier, shrub, or single-trunked tree. Take care when pruning Jatropha plants, as the milky sap can irritate sensitive skin. The versatility of these plants is not limited to your pruning skills—Jatropha can actually work quite well in a large container on a porch or patio.