What are the pros? Fast growth, shade, tropical
What are the cons? Birds and bugs eat them
I had 100% germination. These are supposed to be toxic but over half my seedlings were devoured by bugs and birds before they got over 6 inches tall. Full sized plants still get munched on by birds in the upper leaves or pill bugs on any leaves within reach of the soil. Seedlings are heat and drought sensitive with their giant leaves so keep moist but well drained. These like water, especially in our scorching 115F summers. People use these plants here in the Phoenix area to shade tender tropical plants like baby mangos, avocados and loquats from intense heat and to help create a sheltered microclimate for frost protection in winter.These giant castors excel at almost instant shade and shelter for smaller plants. The biggest leaves are a yard across like beautiful green umbrellas, amazing! Heavily mulching the soil with wood chips, leaves, straw etc. will help keep the roots cool and help build rich soil. In my zone they are usually perennial unless we get a hard winter.
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