Acalypha hispida ‘Alba’ – Chenille Plant –

zones 10-11

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Acalypha –

There are about 400 species of perennials, annuals, trees or shrubs, that are indigenous to the tropics of all continents and major tropical islands, in this genus.  Mainly grown for their catkin like racemes.  Some species have insignificant or large brightly colored flowers.  The leaves are alternate and are simple, oval to egg shape and toothed, except one ‘Acalypha wilkesiana’, which has variegated or mottled leaves.  Where temperatures fall below 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit grow inside.

Under glass grows in humus rich well-drained soil in full or filtered sun, water freely in growing season and apply feedings monthly, water moderately in winter.

Where able to plant outside plant in a sunny to semi-shaded position with plenty of water during summer. Protect from wind.

Prune in winter to keep shape followed by feeding.  Through out seasons pinch back young shoots and deadhead.

Prone to mealy bugs, red spider mites, and whiteflies when grown indoors.  Outside prone to downy mildew, powdery mildew, rust, Cercospora leaf spots and fungal roots rot occur.  Bacterial leaf spots are sometimes a problem in warm climates.


Acalypha hispida – Chenille Plant – Red-Hot Cat’s-Tail – Often seen is the female trailing variety in hanging baskets where it’s long off white 10-20” inch long tassel-like spikes droop.  Leaves are 4-10 inches long and are oval bright green flowering periodical during the year.  Where able to plant in ground it can grow 10 feet tall and 6 feet wide regular pruning will help maintain a bushy shape.  Plant in sheltered sites in full sun.

Zone 10 –12