Ricinus New Zealand Purple
Dark leaved Castor oil plant for dramatic foliage
Ricinus are tender shrubs grown in the UK as an annual. New Zealand Purple is the best variety for very dark leaves which when young have a metalic sheen. The palmate leaves contrast well with many bright flowers and other foliage colours and shapes. Leaves grow to about 10 inches 25 cm across. Plants can grow to 8 feet 2.4m and about 4 feet 1.2 m across. Pot grown they will be about half this size unless well fed. In the ground they should be well fed for the best results and as I grow them often with Canna's they benefit from the same feeding. A sunny warm position for best results and you may get to save some viable seed in a good growing season. A flowering plant but the flower is pretty insignificant. The ricinus with the bright red flowers are not as good or as strong plants and not worth growing compared to this variety. Seeds are formed in attractive dark purple pods like small conker cases.
Available mid April to the end of May but avoid planting out until late May or until frosr risk has passed. Small plants are susceptable to cold and need hardening off carefully. Ricinus are infamously poisonous. I have grown them for a number of years and have had no problems with allergies or ill effects though probably best to wash your hands after touching them. Ricinus are used widely in park bedding as focal points.