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Red Hot Cat's Tail Acalypha hispida

Previously known as:

  • Acalypha densiflora
  • Acalypha sanderi
Phonetic Spelling
ack-ah-LY-phah HIS-pid-ah
Description

Chenille Plant is a tropical shrub in the spurge family that grows 4-6 feet tall and 5-8 feet wide and has long drooping pendant flowers up to 18 inches long with a long bloom season. In NC it can be grown as a house plant.

It tolerates a wide range of soil pH and soil textures including clay soils and it likes moderate moisture but not too wet.  It has some drought tolerance once established, but it does not tolerate salt.  It grows well as an indoor plant or in a container on a patio or rooftop garden that can be brought in during the winter.  Prune it back to 6" above the soil once a year to encourage new bushy growth and more flowers.  Indoor plants should be fed monthly from spring through summer.  In zones 10-11 it can be grown as a hedge, specimen or container plant.

Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Alba'
    White flowers
  • ‘White Margined’
    Creamy teeth on the margins
Tags:
#red#tropical#showy flowers#houseplant#drought tolerant#container plant#showy#red flowers#interiorscape#accent plant#hanging baskets#hedges#long-lasting flowers#long bloom time#roof garden#soft flowers
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Alba'
    White flowers
  • ‘White Margined’
    Creamy teeth on the margins
Tags:
#red#tropical#showy flowers#houseplant#drought tolerant#container plant#showy#red flowers#interiorscape#accent plant#hanging baskets#hedges#long-lasting flowers#long bloom time#roof garden#soft flowers
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Acalypha
    Species:
    hispida
    Family:
    Euphorbiaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Melanesia or Malesia
    Dimensions:
    Height: 4 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 5 ft. 0 in. - 8 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Houseplant
    Perennial
    Shrub
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    6-feet-12 feet
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    10a, 10b, 11a, 11b
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Long Bloom Season
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Spring
    Summer
    Winter
    Flower Description:
    It can flower any time of year especially as a houseplant. Pendulous dark pink to bright red flower tassels that hang down from leaf axils and resemble caterpillars or soft yarn. Individual flowers are very small, mostly just feathery pistils, but are tightly packed along the raceme to form the furry catkin.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Feel:
    Prickly
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Shape:
    Cordate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Dentate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    6"-8" long medium green oval to heart-shaped leaves resemble nettle and can be bristly.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Houseplants
    Patio
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Hedge
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought