castor bean ws question

mary4b(4b WI)May 19, 2013

I just obtained a bunch of castor beans and thought I might get them started. (Don't think it's too late?)

I read on an internet site regarding WS that castor bean is not a good candidate for WS...the claim was that they rot.

I have quite a few I could experiment. The beans are a few years old, however.

Any special recommendations for WSing them right now?
I'm wondering if I am supposed to do the typical 24 hour soak before wintersowing them?

I'm also thinking about soaking some for 24 hours and then planting them 1" deep in a full sun location outside right where I want them, with the hope that at least some might work out there....and then I'd have the WSed ones for back up?

Thanks for your help! It's so nice to visit this forum again. The amount of knowledge and passion here is so exciting!

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In my experience, castor bean does not need to be WS - fine to start right now (I started mine a week or so ago and they are starting to come up - no soaking, just keep the potting soil from drying out). I always start them in 4" pots and when they get a couple of sets of leaves, I plant them out. Some in the garden, many in large half barrel plants I have.

I am pretty sure you could also DS them (maybe soemone else has expereince?) but my only concern would be the soil temps. We are having such a slow to warm up spring here - I'd be afraid the DS wouldn't work as well cause the soil temp might tell the seed not to germinate, it's too cold?

Anyway, good luck with this fabulous plant! Always gets so many comments in my garden!

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 9:54AM
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PVick(6b NYC)

Ditto what nan said. I'm going to put a couple of seeds in a jug today.


    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 10:57AM
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I read somewhere that castor beans remain viable for up to 2-3 years, so if they are much older than that, you might have little or no germination. I actually pre-sprouted mine this year; put them in a plastic sandwich bag along with a damp paper towel. Didn't take them too long to sprout, once they did, I potted them up.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2013 at 1:24AM
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I always ds them. Never had issues. It grows upto 5ft tall in my area. Haven't had them for 2 yrs now. I was actually planning to buy seeds until I saw a seedling in front yard. :) So happy when I saw it. I just hope my neighbor's kid won't accidentally step on it.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2013 at 3:05PM
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Fwiw - I planted 6 castor bean seeds a few weeks ago. They were 3 year old seeds. All 6 germinated. They've been transplanted into pots and the ground and are all thriving.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2013 at 4:31PM
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