The main reason to set up a Jatropha nursery is to propagate multiple plants for a plantation or for local farmers.

For this reason the nursery should be as close as possible to the plantation area, provided there is ample water available. Depending on your choice of planting method, the nursery should be equipped with the proper tools and should be big enough to accommodate all the planned activities. (Picture D1 Philippines)


This requires proper planning in time and area and accessibility. In theory you could have 6 cycles of plants, provided that you have a planting season that is all year round. In practice however most of the tropical planting locations have two planting seasons.

Area needed for a nursery:

If bare root planted, the Jatropha seeds are sawn directly into a bed. (see the page about seeds). To enable seeds to grow into transplantable plants, they should be sown at a distance of about 10 cm, so you will have about 100 plants per m2. (Seedbeds in Philippines and Indonesia )

Seedbeds should be sandy and have good draining or proper run off.

If seedlings are going to be transplanted into poly bags, you roughly need about 1 m2 per 75 polybags with a diameter of 8 cm. You also need a good mix to fill your polybags. Good mixtures can be made from local soil, sand and compost 1-1-1 or other materials upon local availability. The mixture should have good drainage capacities and some NPK and trace nutrients which is normally available when you use compost.. Before filling thousands of bags, first make a small trial with different mixes from local material. Be sure that salt content in both mix and irrigation water is not to high. (< Ece 0.7)(Polybag nurseries in Philippines, Tanzania and Thailand)

Freshly transplanted seedlings have to be protected against to much sunlight during 10 days. This can be natural shade or a thin shade net. Even simple coverage with grasses will do

For growing hard cuttings you can use the same facilities.

Growing soft cuttings in a nursery requires a greenhouse or poly tunnels, either small or big. In this type of propagation the mix in the poly bags is even more important since the soft cuttings should start rooting directly in it . The Dutch (Agriom) method was using peat, D1 in India was using cocopeat. In Bogor (Java, Indonesia) they first root the cuttings in a bed with sawdust and transplant the rooted cuttings after two weeks in a polybag with a proper mixture. (Pics:Greenhouse from Agriom in the Netherlands, Poly tunnel from D1 in India, Small poly tunnels in Indonesia.

For a soft cuttings protocol please click here