How to Grow & Care for Buddha Belly Plants (Jatropha Podagrica)

Written by Ivy

Dec 13 2022

How to Grow & Care for Buddha Belly Plants (Jatropha Podagrica)

Many people opt to grow their Buddha belly plant indoors, even though it can get taller than them if they grow it outdoors. An excellent decorative plant for any garden, a Buddha belly plant must be handled carefully due to its toxicity. Buddha belly plants need the right care, just like any other plant, in order to flourish where they are.

Buddha belly plants (Jatropha podagrica) flourish best in tropical climates, in USDA plant hardiness Zones 8 and 9. They are unusual plants whose round, swollen bellies resemble some images of Buddha, and they got their name as a result. The plant, which is indigenous to tropical Americas, is classified as a shrub.

Facts About the Buddha Belly Plant (Jatropha Podagrica)

You might be interested in learning some interesting facts about a buddha belly plant if you're thinking about growing and caring for one. Understanding the plant better and being more aware of the care it requires to stay healthy and live a long life are two other benefits of having some knowledge of the plant.

The Buddha belly plant is considered a shrub cactus/succulent. There are numerous names for the Buddha belly plant. In addition to Jatropha podagrica, it can also be referred to as a bottleplant shrub, a gout plant and the Guatemala rhubarb, just to name a few. In comparison to the rate of growth of other plants, the plant grows rather slowly. The Buddha belly plant is a flowering plant that can produce flowers with a coral red color. Remember though, the plant doesn't always bloom. As a tropical plant, it is known to flourish in Texas, California, Florida, Arizona, and a number of other states that experience tropical climates and fall within the aforementioned USDA plant hardiness zones. Spring and summer are when the Buddha belly plant is actively growing. It starts to lose its leaves in the fall to get ready for the winter, after which it goes dormant until the spring, when it begins to grow again. The Buddha belly plant is known to attract hummingbirds and butterflies, which is another reason why people love having the plant in their yard or garden.

Buddha Belly Plants (Jatropha Podagrica) Care

Size and Growth Rate

Buddha plants can grow to a height of several feet. The plant resembles a small tree with a sparse crown and a few large leaves when it is fully grown because the swollen stem looks like a trunk.

The gout plant grows slowly. A number of smaller stems that sprout from the top of the stem that is growing from the ground and that bears flower clusters are frequently present.

The exterior stem parts enlarge and thicken as the plant grows. The plant stores its water reservoir in the swollen base.

Flowering and Fragrance

When grown indoors, the plant jatropha podagrica occasionally doesn't bloom.

The flowers, which grow in clusters from long stems, must have the right conditions in order to encourage blooming. The flowers are a vivid coral red color and are odorless.

Light and Temperature

Zones 8 to 9 of the USDA's hardiness scale are advised for the Jatropha podagrica. Central Florida in the US is a prime example of an environment conducive to outdoor growth.

Light and humidity are essential for the plant. Grow the gout plant indoors if you live in a hardiness zone other than 8 or 9.

Grow in substantial buddha plant containers, and move it around the year. Early in the spring, the plant should receive lots of light but not direct sunlight.

The developing new leaves may become scorched by the intense sunlight.

The budda belly plant needs more sunlight in the middle of spring and throughout the entire fall season. If at all possible, put it in a south-facing window so it can get some direct sunlight.

Although the gout stick can survive in average room temperature, it prefers slightly colder wintertime temperatures. When the leaves begin to fall once more, lower the thermostat to the mid-sixties.

NOTE: The gout plant typically loses its leaves when the temperature drops too low. This does not indicate that it is going away. Using its water reserve, it enters dormancy while waiting for warmer weather.

Watering and Feeding

In the spring and summer, the budda belly plant can grow with little water.

Before watering, wait until the soil is touchably dry.

It might only require watering once a month during the winter.

During the spring and summer growing seasons, which are the most active, fertilizer should be applied sparingly to promote growth.

Soil and Transplanting

Cactus soil that drains well is ideal for growing jatropha. Use a mixture of regular potting soil with 25% pumice if there is no cactus soil available.

When the plant is young, start it in a small pot, and repot it each spring. To refresh the soil or when the plant outgrows its current location, it needs to be transplanted as it grows taller.

Maintenance & Grooming

The jatropha podagrica doesn't require any grooming to be taken care of. As needed, get rid of dead leaves.

How to Propagate Jatropha Podagrica (Buddha Belly Plant)

Take stem cuttings or seeds to multiply the bottle plant. When propagating from seed, the plant needs to be pollinated by hand:

  • When the flowers start to ripen, tie small cloth bags over the capsules
  • Wait for the seed pods to explode
  • Remove the seeds from the cloth bags
  • Sow the seeds in moist soil, preferably in a seed tray
  • Maintain 75° degrees Fahrenheit and bright sunlight
  • Up until they sprout, keep watering the seeds.
  • Repot the seedlings into tiny three-inch pots once they are several inches tall.

Every year, pot the plants into a bigger container. As a result, the bulb size gradually increases.

When taking stem cuttings, let the cuttings air dry for a few days. Before placing the plant in a window with direct sunlight, give it time to take root in moist soil.

Buddha Belly Plant Pests Or Diseases

The Buddha belly plant is susceptible to mite attacks in warm outdoor settings.

When an infestation first appears, use a miticide. Whiteflies may attempt to bury themselves beneath the foliage. For treatment, apply a diluted insecticide. The plant's leaves could be harmed by a pesticide used at full strength.

The Buddha Belly Plant's Toxicity

A poisonous plant is the Buddha belly plant. The fruit and sap of the plant are toxic, so be sure to keep the plant away from small children and pets. You can achieve this by setting it in a garden that is reasonably fenced off or on a windowsill that is elevated above the ground.

If you touch the sap, which is a clear color, you will likely experience contact dermatitis or a more irritating sensation. The worst part isn't this, though. While the yellowish fruits of the Buddha belly plant may look curiously delicious, the seeds of these fruits are extremely toxic if ingested. A burning sensation in the throat, diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain are all examples of early signs.

Despite the fact that the Buddha belly plant is toxic, it's believed that the stem has been used as an ingredient in some herbal medications around the world. Consult a doctor or expert if you're interested in learning more about its many applications.

Uses for Buddha Belly Plant

The bottle plant is an interesting garden addition in hot, humid climates.

The plant looks fantastic in a living room, patio, or sun porch due to its exotic appearance.

Buddha Belly Plant was traditionally used in China to treat snake bites and alleviate pain and swelling. - Roots are used to treat infections. - Jaundice and gonorrhea are treated with this. - used in Brazil to remove intestinal worms

Buddha Belly Plant Maintaining Care Year After Year

The best way to take care of your Buddha belly plant is to perform annual general maintenance. This is not a plant for someone looking for a temporary addition to their garden that is exotic. The plant will live a long time if you take good care of it.

If your Buddha belly plant is growing indoors, it needs to be re-potted every year to provide new soil in addition to adhering to the care protocol season after season. Utilize only pots with superb drainage. Lastly, when you see any dead leaves, take them out.

Warning: Buddha Belly Plant Care

Considered poisonous is the Buddha belly plant. Keep the plant away from young children and pets, and avoid touching the sap. They may become seriously ill if they consume the fruit. If you think you may be having symptoms after touching or consuming the plant, call Poison Control and seek medical help right away.


Why My Buddha Belly Plant Leaves Turning Yellow

When the soil is dry and watering is insufficient, check the soil and promptly provide a thorough watering. If the Buddha belly plant receives enough water, it will recover, but the damaged root system will cause the plant to develop dry, yellow leaves after a few days. The leaves will stop yellowing once it returns to normal.

What is the Buddha Belly Plant Medicinal Uses

J has a lot of applications. podagrica in folk medicine, including as an analgesic, tonic, aphrodisiac, purgative, laxative, and to treat infections, intestinal worms, snakebite, gout, and more. The production of dye, soap, biofuel, fish poison, lamp lighting, and fertilizer are additional uses. Tannin is another.