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Castor Bean Plant

October 3rd, 2009

This year I planted a few castor beans seeds. 3 of them germinated and one or two of them were eaten by chipmunks, which I presume died shortly after eating them since they’re very poisonous. Castor bean plants and beans/seeds are poisonous, so you may wonder why I’m growing them. I’ve read that they’re a great way to deter moles and gophers from invading your gardens, and since I had a mole problem in the back garden I decided I’d try a castor plant to see how it worked.
It seemed to do a decent job, I noticed moles in the spring and early summer, but when the castor bean got large I haven’t noticed as many. I’d say it a great way to combat moles, not only do you not have little moles tunneling through your garden, you get a very large striking plant in the garden.
My castor plant is probably 8-9 feet tall and the leaves are huge, I decided this was the bean stalk that Jack must have climbed in the nursery rhyme. It’s starting to bloom, I’m not sure if it will produce any beans since it’s getting pretty close to the end of the season.
I’ll definitely be planting castor plants again next year. I’ve seen a few purple castor beans in some other local gardens and they bloomed much earlier than mine and are much shorter, I may try to find those next year since they must have a shorter growing season.

Do you have any poisonous plants in your gardens? Or any plants that are supposed to help with rodent control?

16 Comments to “Castor Bean Plant”
  1. Nell Jean on October 3, 2009 at 8:50 am

    I’ve planted the purple castor beans. Next year I intend to have more, after skipping this year. I do love purple leaves.

    There are a number of plants in my garden that may be mildly toxic, depending on whose list you read. The most toxic plant I grow is Datura; it even smells evil. Poke weed grows wild. The berries on it are poisonous, but not to birds.

    We have a lab mix dog, too.
    .-= Nell Jean´s last blog ..Flower Brick Friday =-.

    Reply to Nell Jean's comment

    • Susy on October 4, 2009 at 1:06 am

      We have poke weed as well, I also bought mole plant seeds this year which are supposed to be mildly toxic, as are snapdragons.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  2. gittan on October 3, 2009 at 10:29 am

    I’ve been growing castor plants for some years. But I’ve never seen the green one you have, didn’t even know there were any. I’m always growing the purple castor. I just love those plants and how they give hight to the beds and beautiful colour.
    .-= gittan´s last blog ..Första Oktober i min trädgård – In my garden October the first =-.

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  3. Amy on October 3, 2009 at 11:28 am

    We don’t have a mole problem because of our outside cats/barn cats though.

    Reply to Amy's comment

  4. LeLo on October 3, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    OOoh I love the purple castor beans. We’ve grown them before, and they add drama and an exotic feel to the garden. I stopped growing them, however, when we got a dog. What I have read about them just doesn’t make it worth it: while we have lots of other somewhat toxic plants in the garden, the castor bean is way more dangerous than others. Especially for a little hoover vac in the form of the fluffy white dog. :) But I still love them!

    The stories about the use of the castor bean as a poison in a dart or as a tool of murder are fascinating: I recall something about a spy and the use of castor bean in the tip of an umbrella to kill!
    .-= LeLo´s last blog ..Life lesson #39 =-.

    Reply to LeLo's comment

    • Susy on October 4, 2009 at 1:07 am

      They definitely are an exotic looking plants with their big umbrella like leaves and odd blossoms.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  5. ruralrose on October 3, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    Castor oil is an excellent healing oil. Thank you for the post, i will try it next year, can’t believe how big it got. I grow potatoes and tomatoes and they are very poisonous. Peace for all
    .-= ruralrose´s last blog ..Perparing for Winter =-.

    Reply to ruralrose's comment

    • Dr.Eswar on December 11, 2009 at 1:41 am

      We supply premium quality castor seeds which are procured from trusted vendors across the nation. The seeds are uniform in size and light in weight which are readily available at affordable prices.

      Reply to Dr.Eswar's comment

  6. Seren Dippity on October 3, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    Have you seen the book “Wicked Plants” by Amy Stewart? Its on my to read list. She has a garden of poison plants with some hilariously appropriate garden art. (Tombstones and such) The New York Times did a beautiful photo essay about her.

    I’m tempted by some of the beautiful plants but don’t dare, at least until my grandkids are older.

    Reply to Seren Dippity's comment

  7. thepoisongarden on October 3, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    You write ‘I’m not sure if it will produce any beans since it’s getting pretty close to the end of the season’ but your photo shows the mature fruits. Break open those spiky balls and you’ll find the beans inside.

    For LeLo;

    ‘The stories about the use of the castor bean as a poison in a dart or as a tool of murder are fascinating’

    And, also, mostly false.

    The press have a fascination about ricin and there only needs to be mention of poison and the press rush to say its ricin.

    When you say ‘poison in a dart’ are you referring to the recent report about work during World War II? The press claimed that the plan to drop poison darts on the enemy involved ricin but it didn’t.

    Reply to thepoisongarden's comment

    • Susy on October 4, 2009 at 1:05 am

      Oh, thanks, I had no idea they were in those pods, I thought those were going to come out. I’ll have to pick one and see what they look like inside.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  8. Pampered Mom on October 4, 2009 at 12:19 am

    Since my little ones like to eat things in the yard we try our best to steer clear from any plants that might make one ill or were poisonous. We’re strictly an edible plant kind of family.
    .-= Pampered Mom´s last blog ..The Gut (and a few good links) =-.

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  9. Nancy Bjornstad on October 13, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    We grew a green castor bean plant. It has one huge cluster of spikey balls and 6 smaller clusters of spikey balls. Are these the seeds? Can they be planted directly into the ground in the spring? What do I do with the seed pods over the winter? Thanks for any advice.

    Reply to Nancy Bjornstad's comment

    • Susy on October 13, 2009 at 12:25 pm

      I think the seeds are inside these pods. I plan on picking the stalk and letting it dry, then I’ll crack them open and see what the insides look like.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  10. Sandy on October 6, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    My castor beans did not bloom! Why?

    Reply to Sandy's comment

    • Susy on October 23, 2017 at 7:52 pm

      Could be that they didn’t mature enough, they have a fairly long growing season.

      Reply to Susy's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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