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A Comprehensive Guide On How To Grow Coral Plants

coral plant

Are you looking for an eye-catching and vibrant addition to your garden or home decor? Look no further than the Coral Plant (Jatropha multifida). This tropical shrub is known for its striking red blooms that resemble coral and its attractive, fern-like foliage. But with its unique appearance comes specific growing requirements to ensure its health and longevity.

In this article, we will cover all the essential aspects of growing and maintaining a healthy Coral Plant. From site selection and soil preparation to pest and disease management, we will provide you with all the information you need to help your Coral Plant thrive. Coral plant is also known as Guetamala rhubarb.

By the end of this article, you will have a comprehensive understanding of what it takes to successfully cultivate and enjoy the stunning beauty of the Coral Plant in your home or garden. So, let’s get started!

Growing Conditions for Coral Plant (Jatropha multifida)

Creating the optimal growing conditions for your Coral Plant is crucial for its health and vitality. By understanding its specific needs, you can provide an environment in which it will flourish. In this section, we will discuss the essential factors to consider when growing Coral plants, including temperature, humidity, watering, light, soil, and space requirements.

Temperature Requirements

Coral Plants thrive in warm temperatures, ideally between 73-84°F (23-29°C). They can tolerate higher temperatures but may suffer if exposed to prolonged cold or frost. If you live in a region with cooler temperatures, consider growing your Coral Plant in a container so you can move it indoors during the colder months.

guetamala rhubarb
Guetamatala rhubarb Source: Ton

Humidity Level

Jatropha multifida can tolerate a wide range of humidity levels but grows best in moderate to high humidity. The ideal humidity level is 50-60%. If you live in an area with low humidity, you can increase the humidity around your plant by placing a tray filled with water and pebbles beneath the pot. As the water evaporates, it will create a more humid environment for your Coral Plant. You can also mist your plant regularly to maintain higher humidity levels.

Watering Conditions

Coral Plants are drought-tolerant but require regular watering during their establishment period. Water your plant deeply once or twice a week during the first few months, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. Once established, you can reduce the watering frequency to once every 2-3 weeks, depending on your climate and rainfall. Be sure to avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot and other issues.


To support the healthy growth of your Coral Plant, use a balanced slow-release fertilizer, such as a 10-10-10 formula, applied in spring and summer. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid over-fertilizing, and consider using organic alternatives like compost or aged manure. Additionally, apply a layer of organic mulch around the plant’s base to conserve moisture, maintain soil temperature, suppress weeds, and release nutrients slowly.

coral plant
Coral Plant Source: Wendy

Light Requirements

The Coral Plant prefers full sun, although it can tolerate partial shade. Ensure that the plant receives at least 6-8 hours of sunlight daily. The more sunlight the plant receives, the more vibrant its flower color and overall growth will be. If you are growing Coral Plant indoors, place them near a bright window that receives direct sunlight or use artificial grow lights to provide adequate light exposure.

Soil Selection

Jatropha multifida thrives in well-draining soil. Ideally, the soil should have a pH range between 6.0 and 7.0. To improve drainage, you can amend the soil with organic matter, such as compost or aged manure. This will also help to improve the soil structure and provide essential nutrients for the plant. If you are growing Coral plants in a container, use a high-quality, well-draining potting mix.

Space Requirements

This tropical shrub can grow up to 15-20 feet tall and 6-10 feet wide. Therefore, ensure you have enough space for the plant to grow and spread out. Allow at least 6-8 feet between plants if you’re planting multiple Coral Plants. This will ensure that each plant receives adequate light and air circulation, reducing the risk of pest and disease issues.

Care and Maintenance of Coral Plant

Maintaining your Coral Plant is essential for its long-term health and vitality. Regular care and attention will help to promote healthy growth, prevent pest and disease issues, and ensure the plant remains visually attractive. In this section, we will discuss some important maintenance tasks to consider when caring for your Coral Plant.

Pruning and Shaping

Regular pruning and shaping will help to maintain the Coral Plant’s form and encourage bushier growth. Prune the plant in early spring, removing any dead or damaged branches. You can also trim back leggy stems and shape the plant to your desired form. Additionally, remove any suckers or self-seeded seedlings that may appear around the base of the plant.

Pest Management 

Coral Plants are relatively pest-resistant but can occasionally suffer from infestations. Common pests include aphids, spider mites, whiteflies, and scale insects. To manage these pests, use insecticidal soap or neem oil, remove them manually, or use sticky traps.

Disease Management

Coral Plants are susceptible to root rot, powdery mildew, and leaf spot. To manage root rot, ensure proper drainage and avoid excessive watering. To manage powdery mildew, increase air circulation, prune back overgrown branches, and use a fungicide if necessary. To manage leaf spots, remove infected leaves, use fungicides, and maintain good air circulation.

Overwintering and Frost Protection

If you live in a region with frost or freezing temperatures, you will need to take additional measures to protect your Coral Plant during the winter months, as it is not frost-tolerant. In colder climates, consider growing your Coral Plant in a container so you can move it indoors during the winter months. Alternatively, you can protect the plant with a frost blanket or wrap it with burlap if it is grown in the ground.

Container Growing and Repotting

If you are growing Coral plants in a container, it will require repotting every 2-3 years. When repotting, choose a pot that is slightly larger than the current one and fill it with fresh, well-draining potting soil. Additionally, ensure that the container has adequate drainage holes to prevent waterlogging.

Potential Toxicity

It is important to note that all parts of the Coral Plant, including the seeds, leaves, and sap, are toxic if ingested. This plant should be grown with caution if you have pets or young children who may be tempted to taste it. Additionally, the sap can cause skin irritation in some individuals, so it is best to wear gloves when handling the plant, especially when pruning.


In conclusion, growing and maintaining a Coral Plant is a rewarding and relatively easy endeavor. By selecting the right site and soil, providing adequate water and nutrients, and managing pests and diseases, you can create the perfect environment for your Coral Plant to thrive.

Remember to prune and shape your plant regularly, protect it from frost and freeze damage, and repot it every few years if necessary. By following these guidelines, you can enjoy the stunning beauty of the Coral Plant in your garden for years to come.

We hope that this guide has provided you with valuable insights into the world of Coral Plant cultivation and inspired you to grow and care for this stunning plant. Happy gardening!

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