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Known as Red-hot Cat Tail, Catkins, Monkey Tail, Red hot cat’s tail, or Foxtail, this attractive plant has long tassel-like, caterpillar-like red flowers that will make your landscape, garden, or greenhouse look unique. When you search this plant, you will certainly be dazzled by its captivating blooms.
However, Acalypha hispida or Chenille Plant is a French word for Caterpillar. And just like caterpillars, sometimes they are dangerous to eat. Its crimson fuzzy flowers and bright red tails can give life or uniqueness to your collection of plants, but you must remember that these pretty flowers that are fuzzy red are poisonous.
A much as possible, plant or place them in a space where children or pets could not reach them. This plant loves a lot of sun and the right amount of water. Proper trimming can make the plant look more significant than it already is!
This heat-tolerant plant is mainly found in parts of New Guinea, Australia, and Asia and is primarily being repotted or transferred during the winter season.
Chenille Plant Care Basics
Chenille plants are a lovely addition to front porches and gardens in a hanging basket, window boxes, or planting pots because of their long, trailing blossoms. Growing a chenille plant may seem hard, but you’re mistaken. It requires minimal effort for it to thrive in your garden.
But, before we tackle its essential care tips, let’s know more about Chenille Plants.
Botanical Name: Acalypha hispida
Other names: Chenille Flower, Monkey Tail, Red-Hot Cat Tail, Philippines Medusa
Plant Type: Evergreen plant; shrubs
Exposure to Sunlight: Full sun outdoors; bright light indoors
Soil Type: Sand, clay, loam, or a well-draining soil
Color: Evergreen Leaves, Red Flowers
Water: Moderate moisture
Favorable Climate: Tropical climate
Preferable Fertilizer: Half-strength balanced flower fertilizer
Propagation: Stem cutting
Toxicity Warning: Mildly toxic
Height: 5-6 feet
Origin: tropical eastern Asia
Best Potting Mix
When gardening, it is important that we know the soil requirement of each plant that we intend to take care of. As for these chenille plants, loamy soils, clay, and sand are ideal. They also prefer well-drained soil.
Any of these will work for this kind of plant. It thrives in pH ranges of 5.0 to 7.5. If the soil doesn’t drain effectively, add some sand to keep the chenille roots from being too damp. The chenille plant grows fast, necessitating a lot of soil nourishment to continue growing and flowering.
However, because it is only moderately drought-resistant and salt-tolerant, it is not suitable for xeriscapes or seashore gardens.
The soil should be moist but remember not to overwater it. Maintain the soil to be evenly moist but not saturated. This is because the roots of the plant will be harmed if it becomes too wet.
Using a spray mister between waterings is advisable. It will make your plant happy. Water your chenille plant thoroughly until the water drops from the container’s bottom, but don’t soak the flowers.
This plant thrives in both partial shade and direct sunlight. Outside, it’s typically best to get some sun. If you’re going to grow them as an indoor plant, they’ll need to be in a window that faces south to obtain enough light.
This plant prefers muggy, wet conditions, so don’t let it become too hot and dry in the summer sun. Bring the plant inside during the winter months and place it in a sunny area.
Temperature & Humidity
Because it is native to the tropics, the chenille plant cannot endure freezing temperatures. The plant will not thrive in temperatures below 59 degrees Fahrenheit. But temperatures are around 65 to 80 degrees on the day while 60 degrees at night are the ideal humidity for the plant.
High humidity is also beneficial to this tropical houseplant. A cool-mist room humidifier is possibly a recommendation that can be placed near the Chenille Plant. Raising the humidity level also helps to keep spider mites at bay. Keep an eye out for these pests, especially during the winter when the air inside tends to dry up.
During the spring and summer growing seasons, you can help by fertilizing the soil once a week. For flowers, use a balanced, half-strength fertilizer. If the blossoms start to turn yellow, amend the soil with compost or manure.
If you’re going to use potting soil, make sure it is for succulents and cacti. Apply a 10-10-10 fertilizer to your plant while it is still outside in the summer and shortly before you bring it inside for the winter. Fertilization is not required until the following growing season, which begins in early March.
Cut a segment of stems that are 4′′ to 6′′ long and include more than one leaf to reproduce from a cutting. Apply rooting hormone to the bottom of the plant from your local nursery. Then, to assist the stems in producing roots, lay them in a rooting media.
It can be transferred into potting soil or planted outside in the spring once a robust root system is established. As the plant grows, make sure to keep the soil moist.
Our pretty Foxtail can grow throughout the entire year, but it grows faster during summer. In suitable climates such as tropical ones, Chinelle can grow up to 15 feet tall and 8 feet wide, but you can train your Chinelle in more nominal growth, depending on the containers you will use, for they grow smaller in containers. It is also best recommended when hanging since its fuzzy flowers can extend for up to 18 inches.
Treating them as an outdoor plant will result in their maximum growth.
It is best to use all-purpose soil for potting and make sure it is moist but not overwatered. A spray will be best for taking care of the plant in between waterings to keep the moisture. When winter is coming, make sure to use fertilizer on the plant to let it live for a long while.
This plant can grow 20 inches long in containers; it’s also best to prune to encourage growth and blooming. When pruning, make sure to use sharp shears to get a clean-cut; the recommended prune cut is 4-8 inches.
Other Similar Plants
There are also other plants similar to the Chenille because there are cases where they look so similar that some cannot tell the difference. With these different varieties, perhaps these can add to your collection, and these are:
This plant is similar to the Chenille but has the characteristics of low severity poison but is safe enough to have it indoors. To take care of this plant, make sure that the area of the plant has high humidity or good air circulation.
The Urtica dioica is known as the common nettle or nettle leaf. This plant can grow around 1-2 meters tall during the summer but dies down during the winter. The plant’s leaves can produce about 3-15 cm, and it grows on a green—erect, wiry stem.
Chenille Diseases & Pests
The signs for the chenille plant to have diseases are when it’s not been taken care of enough, the soil is too dry, causing wilting, and if it’s not pruned regularly, the plant’s growth will not be proper, and it may cause more damage.
Common pests for this plant are spider mites, mealybugs, and whiteflies; a way to get rid of the pests is by spraying the leaves with water or organic solution sprays.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are some reasons as to why the leaves of the chenille plant are turning yellow; it could be from dry soil or pests. To prevent this from happening again make sure that the soil is moist and spray from time to time because that can also help get rid of the pests.
Yellow leaves are usually a sign of stress and there are chances that it might not go back to green again but Yes, there’s still a possibility for the yellow leaves to go back to green only if it’s taken care of as soon as possible, helping the plant to get better.
When a chenille plant is dying, it is because of low humidity, dry soil, or not pruned, basically not being adequately cared for.
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