One last look: castor beans

With the first hard freeze expected Saturday evening, I thought give you one last look at the stars of my late-season garden: the castor beans (Ricinus communis).

Also papyrus and a little canna, because they also impressed me so much this year. I'm glad that I was able to enjoy them until almost the end of November (an extra three or four weeks this year), but I'll miss them for the next nine months or so -- the castor beans won't be impressive until late July at the earliest.


The purple leaves get a bit more blue in the shade:

Papyrus taller than me...

...convinced me to plant some of this in the ground again next year! (Instead of just in a large pot like I normally do)

I'm going to miss the towering mass of purple!

Especially when seen from under the deck in the morning:

Bananas a bit ratty, but pretty good for November:

The canna 'Paton' foliage is so vertical and spiky -- I love it, especially with the papyrus behind (and the bamboo behind that):

The maypop (Passiflora incarnata) will be back of course, but I'll miss the curtain of foliage until June or July:

I especially like how it yellows in the fall -- so great when backlit!

But it's the purples that I'll miss the most:

Here it's the castor bean (dark purple variety) along with Pennisetum "Vertigo".

You can't ask for more on a late November morning in St. Louis, can you?


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Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (November 19, 2015 at 10:06 AM)  

I can only imagine how hard it must be to say goodbye to this until next summer.

Salty Pumpkin Studio  – (November 19, 2015 at 11:21 AM)  

The colors you've captured are fantastic. The castor bean leaves and sun hues would make a beautiful fabric.

DC Tropics  – (November 19, 2015 at 11:46 AM)  

Have you tried 'Zanzibarensis'? Huge-leafed castor bean, very impressive. Another one of my favorites is 'Impala', with a relatively subtle dark coloration and brilliant red fruits. Although the plants aren't the least bit hardy, I always had them popping up the following year from self-sown seeds. I haven't grown any castor beans in a few years but now I want to try again!

Peter/Outlaw  – (November 19, 2015 at 5:57 PM)  

I feel your pain as we're about to get lows in the upper 20's so it will be the final farewell for any tropicals/annuals left outside. Papyrus looks great in vases and dries nicely if you do that sort of thing.

danger garden  – (November 20, 2015 at 12:20 AM)  

It's interesting that so many of seem to be heading into our first hard freeze in the next few days. Late for many, right about on time for us...although of course that didn't stop me from hoping it still wouldn't happen for a few weeks.

Alan  – (November 20, 2015 at 6:22 AM)  

DC: I saw what must have been 'Zanzibarensis' at Missouri Botanical Garden earlier this year and the HUGE leaves got me so excited. I'm very glad to know what the variety is called and will be on the lookout for seeds this winter. BIG thanks!

Peter: you must have some really big vases, or maybe you just cut the smaller papyrus stems? How do you dry them?

www.ravenscourtgardens. com  – (November 20, 2015 at 9:23 AM)  

Wonderful photographs, I have been trying to figure out how to fit a Castor Bean or two into my garden. I have to stay away from Papyrus it is very invasive here in my sub-tropical climate. For us hard freezes are a maybe and winter very short. I think you would love it here!

outlawgardener  – (November 20, 2015 at 2:20 PM)  

Alan, I'm very lazy and simply put them in a vase with no water. They dry themselves. A huge vase on the floor with these stuffed inside looks like a fireworks show and brings back memories of those 70's baskets of pampas grass plumes, sometimes dyed, that were so popular.

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