Plant Guide

Acalypha hispida

Plant Suppliers: Accents for Home and Garden
Pronunciation: ak-uh-LY-fuh HISS-pih-duh
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Common Name: Chenille Plant, Red-Hot Cattail, Foxtail, Red-Hot Cat's Tail
Plant Type:
  • perennial
  • trees, shrubs

Height to: 12'
Width to: 6'
USDA Hardiness Zones:
  • 50 to 40ºF ZONE 11
  • 60 to 50ºF ZONE 12

Bloom Description: cherry red catkins
Bloom Season:
  • repeat bloomer

Sun Exposure:
  • full sun
  • part sun

Soil Type: fertile, moist, well drained. Be sure to keep it moist in the hot summer months
Plant Perks:
  • Container Gardening
  • Suitable for Houseplant

Propagation: take cuttings in summer. Best results come from semi-ripe wood tip cuttings with a heel.
Native to: New Guinea, the Malay Archipelago and other islands in the East Indies

Source: Floridata - Chenille plant is an erect, sparsely branched shrub that can get 6-12 ft (1.8-3.7 m) high with a spread of 3-6 ft (0.9-1.8 m). Potted plants are kept considerably smaller. The evergreen leaves are oval, 4-9 in (10-23 cm) long, 3-4 in (7.6-10 cm) wide, and pointed on the tips. Chenille plant is dioecious, meaning that the staminate (male) and pistillate (female) flowers are on separate plants. The pistillate flowers are purple, bright red or crimson, and clustered in velvety catkins, 8-20 in (20-51 cm) long and an inch in diameter. They are dense and fluffy, like a cat's tail, and they appear intermittently throughout the whole year as long as conditions are favorable.
Chenille plant can be grown in a container on the patio or porch, and brought indoors during cold weather. It looks great in a large hanging basket with its fluffy crimson tassels hanging over the sides. It also can be kept as a houseplant in a bright location, but it will require frequent and heavy pruning, as well as regular misting in an air conditioned room. A common practice is to take cuttings every year and have new young and vigorous plants constantly coming on.


WARNING: This plant is toxic. See our Garden Lists for more Toxic plants.


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USDA Heat Zones (days above 86ºF):
  • 45 to 60 days ZONE 6
  • 60 to 90 days ZONE 7
  • 90 to 120 days ZONE 8
  • 120 to 150 days ZONE 9
  • 150 to 180 days ZONE 10
  • 180 to 210 days ZONE 11
  • Greater then 210 ZONE 12

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