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Member of :

GWAA

The Garden Writers Association


Last Update 06/11/08

Plant of the Month

Acalypha-hispida

 Chenille plant, Red-hot cat's-tail

Do you remember those silly little chenille crafts that you used to make back in the 1980's? Well this shrub recalls those fluffy pipe-stems that you used to make bunnies and critters back in the day. A bushy shrub with large leaves. The brightly colored pendulous tassels (up to 18" long) of Chenille plant are extremely showy and a specimen in full bloom is a spectacular sight.

Red-hot cat's-tail. Click to Enlarge.

Red-hot cat's-tail. Click Image to Enlarge.




Chenille plant catkins. Click to Enlarge.
Chenille plant catkins.
Click Image to Enlarge. Click here for Close-up

Plant Facts:

Common Name:  Chenille plant, Red-hot cat's-tail

Botanical Name:  Acalypha-hispida

Family:  Euphorbiaceae

Plant Type:  Evergreen Shrub

Origin: New Guinea, the Malay Archipelago and other islands in the East Indies

Zones: 9 - 11

Height:  5 to 8 feet, 4 to 8 feet wide

Rate of Growth: Fast

Salt Tolerance: Medium

Soil Requirements:  Acidic; slightly alkaline; sand; loam; clay

Water Requirements: Low drought tolerance. Rich, moist well-drained soil.

Nutritional Requirements: Balanced liquid fertilizer monthly

Light Requirements: Full sun

 

Form:  Bush

Leaves:  4-8 inches, green

Flowers:  Red, long drooping catkins up to 18" long, blooms all year. Acalypha-hispida 'Alba' bears white catkins

Fruits: N/A

Pests:  No diseases of major concern associated with Chenille Plant. Scales, mites and aphids may be troublesome pests in some landscapes, especially when grown in partial shade.

Uses:  Beautiful flowering shrub that is commonly used as an accent, hedge, specimen, or container plant. Its long period of bloom makes it a showy centerpiece for any tropical or subtropical garden. Well suited for planting in a container on deck or patio.

Bad Habits: Prune after blooming to control growth and promote bushiness

Cost:  $$ -- Reasonable

Propagation:   Cuttings

Sources: AMERICAN HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY A-Z ENCYCLOPEDIA OF GARDEN PLANTS; Ornamental Tropical Shrubs

 
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