Growing plants in general and Jatropha curcas L. in particular requires knowledge and understanding of the environmental conditions these plants require to grow and thrive. Regarding the factors influencing plant growth, an understanding of soils probably is the most important one. In subtropical and tropical areas (this is where Jatropha belongs) variation in soil type, pH, and nutrient content is huge. In the case of growing Jatropha it is even more crucial to understand (at least) the soil conditions since there is very little specific information about Jatropha soil conditions itself. Other important factors of course are the climatological conditions rain and temperature.
The figure below shows why lots of Jatropha projects had troubles in getting things right simply because the plants where introduced in new and/or marginal area’s.
Jatropha is a tropical plant that requires tropical temperatures and a minimum of 800 mm/year of rain. Excess rain up to 4000 mm/year is not a problem as long as there is good drainage or run off.
PROPAGATION Only recently seed and plant selection of Jatropha curcas L. is taking place, so the whole Jatropha industry is still working with a wild plant without known characteristics. Early trials showed a lot of variation between individual plants, which simply means that yield will be unpredictable and probably far from optimal. Therefore plant selection is crucial for the development of a well yielding Jatropha crop.
Propagating large quantities of Jatropha curcas is not a complicated task as such, provided that proper techniques are being used. There is a relation between the scale of an operation and the most suitable way to propagate Jatropha, but there is also a relation between propagation technics and yield.