Jatropha curcas (physic nut) is a plant with economic and pharmaceutical uses. Basic studies on the influence of environmental factors on the early development of J. curcas are important for improving farming techniques and increasing productivity. This study investigated the adjustments of J. curcas to the environmental factors of drought and light stress in order to determine which factors most strongly affect the allocation of biomass during early growth. Leaves, stems, and roots of young plants were sampled and leaf area was measured during January and June in 2011. Plants of J. curcas that were grown in shade and subjected to water stress showed higher biomass allocation to aerial parts (mainly stems), which can be explained as a strategy for maximizing carbon assimilation. The pattern of biomass allocation between aerial components and the root system changed in plants grown in shade. During June 2011, biomass in shade-grown J. curcas was preferentially allocated to stems, indicating long-term adjustment. The lower biomass allocation to the root system suggests reduced exploitation of soil water even when this resource is scarce. Thus, over the long term, growth of J. curcas may be compromised by the combined effects of light stress and water deficit.