Dwarf Jatropha: Star of South Florida Landscapes

If you’re looking for a glamorous little tree that can belt out scarlet flowers 365 days a year, consider a Jatropha integerrima ‘Compacta,’ or dwarf jatropha. This show-stealer is actually a shrub, but when trained to grow in multiple trunks, it earns star status as one of the best-dressed ornamentals you’ll ever see.

A drought-tolerant evergreen, dwarf jatrophas reach only six to eight feet high, auditioning well as a single accent choice or as part of a 12-tree chorus. Tiny red flowers pop open every day in full to part sun, dancing against dark green leaves and attracting butterflies and hummingbirds.

Like any Broadway star, the dwarf jatropha needs a bit of pampering but not too much. It can be cold sensitive (does best in Zone 10) and may lose some of its leaves when temperatures drop. But amazingly, it will still flower non-stop – with or without leaves.

dwarf jatrophasPlant your dwarf jatropha in a well-drained spot and add some extra composted cow manure. If planting several, place four to six feet apart. Don’t worry about the tiny flowers making a mess; like any true diva, it goes all out to remain fashionable and attractive. Just remember that all parts of this plant are poisonous.

Think you might have a spot in your landscape for some of these fiery red dynamos? Contact ArtisTree Landscape Maintenance & Design. No doubt our professional designers can also share plenty of other ideas on what plants to cast alongside your jatrophas. For a smash-hit landscape, call 941.488.8897 or visit artistree.com

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