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Castor Oil Houseplant - Remove Crown?

I have become the custodian of a large Castor Oil houseplant from my in-laws that has been around most of my husbands childhood. I love this plant, but since it moved south with us, it has grown rapidly, including sprouting a whole new crown on top of its existing height and growing a new small plant in th same pot. I have read many articles about how to safely prune leaves, but none confirming whether it’s ok to cut through the main trunk?  It’s around 2.4m currently and would like to remove both the top and ‘new’ plant and repot for others to enjoy if possible. I don’t want to make the wrong move and lose this plant it’s been around a long time!


  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 16,158
    Do you mean Fatsia japonica or Ricinus communis?
    You don't stop doing new things because you get old, you get old because you stop doing new things. <3
  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Scariff, County Clare, IrelandPosts: 7,567
    If you're not sure what you've got, you could post a photo on this thread and someone will ID it for you.
    "The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore
  • Thank you you both for your swift responses. Here it is, quite a monster!  What do you think?  Fatsia Japonica?

  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 16,158
    Fatsia japonica.
    You don't stop doing new things because you get old, you get old because you stop doing new things. <3
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 6,629
    edited August 2018
    I have Fatsia japonica as an outdoor plant.  It was there when we moved in (so it's over 30 years old) and I cut out the longest few stems as far down as I can, at least once or twice a year, to keep it to the size I want.  It shoots out from below the cuts very quickly and also puts out new shoots from ground level, so it's very bushy. It might behave differently indoors (yours is probably growing towards the window) but if you cut back the main stem it should put out a new stem from just below the cut. Your "new small plant" will just be a new shoot from the base.

    Here's the whole plant

    and here's a pic of "inside" near the base - old stems and newer ones, an old cut in the middle of the pic and a couple of recent ones that haven't re-sprouted yet, lower down.  I need to get in there and clear out the old dead leaves :)

  • I had no idea these grew outside Jenny, I agree, it is a beautiful plant. The pot mine is in indoors is about 35cm diameter, so not huge. Think I need to cut the top off and turn it around to straighten it up as it heads towards the light again. 
    I will try to replant the shoot outside. 

    Thanks so so much for your responses ☺️

  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 6,629
    Hi Lantana,
    The wall faces more-or-less East so it gets the morning sun.  According to the RHS, it's not too fussy

    The topmost leaves can look a bit tatty after a hard winter, but as I prune out the tallest few branches in spring anyway, and it's at the back of the house so I'm not looking at it on my way in and out all winter, it's not a problem for me.
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