Buddha Belly Jatropha podragica with red flowers and large leaves A collection of many 6 inch Buddha Belly Plants with swollen trunks Buddha Belly Plant Jatropha podragica red flowers blooming Buddha Belly Plant red flowers with fruit pods
Buddha Belly Jatropha podragica with red flowers and large leaves A collection of many 6 inch Buddha Belly Plants with swollen trunks Buddha Belly Plant Jatropha podragica red flowers blooming Buddha Belly Plant red flowers with fruit pods

Images Depict Mature Plants

Buddha Belly Plant

Jatropha podagrica

Buddha Belly plants, named for their big belly trunks, make great container plants since the bright red flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds alike. It's unusual shape makes the Buddha Belly a prized ornamental houseplant to add to your collections.

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Buddha Belly Plants (Jatropha podagrica) are tropical succulent shrubs that make a stunning ornamental houseplant. These plants can grow 5 to 8 feet tall in their native Mexican and Nicaraguan tropical landscapes, but they typically grow to 2 to 3 feet tall in containers and indoors. They can only be grown outdoors in zones 9 to 11.

Buddha Belly plants from the jatropha species, also known as Bottle Euphorbia or Gout plants, can be identified with their large, round, grey reservoir trunks - the trunk is what inspires the name 'Buddha Belly'. They also have large, fig-shaped, lobed leaves and small ornamental red flowers. The delicate red flowers attract both hummingbirds and butterflies.

Jatropha podagrica bloom in spring and summer, and they will lose their leaves and go dormant during the winter months. You can have these plants as outdoor container plants and then bring them inside before the weather drops below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. They prefer bright direct light and will tolerate partial shade. Buddha Belly plants are drought tolerant and prefer to dry out between waterings.

All parts of Buddha Belly plants are toxic. The sap causes dermatitis, or sometimes more severe skin irritation, and their fruit will cause nausea or other extreme reactions if ingested. Keep your Jatropha plants away from children and pets.

Propagation of Buddha Belly plants is easiest via seeds, but they can be propagated with cuttings as well. To collect the seeds safely, tie a small cloth bag around the flowers when they produce their green fruit capsules - when they burst and drop their seeds the bag will safely catch the seeds for you.

Buddha Belly plants will grow slowly, but they thrive with new soil every year. It is recommended to repot your Jatropha plant each year with a pot no more than 1 to 2 inches wider than the last pot (unless it is not ready to go a size up). These make a stunning and unique ornamental addition to your home, and they are easy to take care of as well.


Hardiness Zone: 9-11
Mature Height: 2 to 3 Feet in containers, 5 - 8 feet in native environment
Mature Width: 1 to 2 Feet
Classification: Succulent houseplant
Sunlight: Direct light to partial shade
Flower Color: Red-orange to scarlet, blooms in spring and summer
Habit: Upright steady growth
Foliage: Green fig-shaped deciduous leaves
Soil Condition: Neutral to slightly acidic, well draining
Water Requirements: Moderate, likes to dry out between waterings slightly
Uses: Ornamental houseplant, great for patio container gardens, attracts butterflies and hummingbirds
Growzone: 10-11 Buddha Belly Plant Hardiness Zone 10-11

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