A Jotropha tree is usually planted in a sunny location with well-drained soil and plenty of compost. Though the tree is drought tolerant once it is established, it is important to water a young tree at regular intervals, allowing the soil to dry in between watering. Removing any suckers that appear on the trunk helps the tree maintain its structure.
While it is possible to trim a Jotropha at any time, a heavy pruning in late spring allows the tree to fill out well and become lush and full in subsequent seasons. Fertilizing the tree in spring, summer and fall enables it to have a heavy bloom. The use of a fertilizer with a high phosphorus content and supplement with bone meal ensures the best results.
Jatropha trees can be planted in large pots as long as their roots are able to fully dry before watering. When planted in the ground, the trees should be spaced at least 4 to 6 feet apart. Relatively small in size, topping out at 6 to 8 feet in height, the Jatropha tree is often used as an accent tree, to line a fence or driveway, or as a striking backdrop to smaller plants.