Where are we off to today? Well, today I thought we might try Cuba or the West Indies. As a kid, I was fortunate enough to travel many times to the West Indies. I think it was one of my Dad's favorite places on earth. Jamaica, Anguilla, St. Thomas, St. Maarten. There are many times I wish I could get back there and let the nostalgia wash over me. The sounds of the crystal blue water lapping the white as sugar beaches. The sound of tropical birds and waterfalls. The amazing feel of the delicious trade winds. And of course, the amazing plants. The good news is that I now live somewhere that is favorable to many plants found there. One such tropical temptation is Jatropha integerrima also known as Jatrofa. Check out the flowers. They're a vibrant and electric cherry color accented with anthers that smolder like burning embers. The look is an aphrodisiac attack of tropical sultriness.
Jatropha integerrima is a tropical shrub that can grow anywhere from 4 to 8 feet tall and wide. It is outfitted with leaves with an exotic flare. Their lobed look is rich and lush. If you live in a frost free area plant this shrub and create your own Shangri-La. If you don't, try it as an exotic annual. It likes full to part sun, well-drained soil, and moderate moisture to drier conditions. Now one thing to note is that this shrub is related to the Euphorbia family which means it does contain some toxic compounds so use caution when planting it in your garden. Gnawing on the plant is not recommended for pets and children or anyone for that matter. So consider this an "Adult" plant. Respect it and it will give your garden or container the stylish allure of a tropically luxurious destination. I know that's where I want to be.