The Encyclopedia of House Plants

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Family: Euphorbiaceae.

Common name(s): Chenolle plant, Red-hot Catstail, Copperleaf
Acalypha Genus of about 430 species of evergreen shrubs and trees, and annuals, from tropical and subtropical regions. There are two distinct groups of Acalypha. The more popular tipe bears long tassels of tiny flowers amongst its plain foliage and the other type has colorful foliage with insignificants blooms. All Acalyphas are woody shrubs (excluding A. hispaniolae). Acalyphas are quick growing but the problem is the high humidity requirement.
Growing conditions Watering and misting Propagation
Warmth. 65-80F during the day and a minimum 60F at night. Provide as much light as possible, but no direct sun. Keep compost moist at all times. Misting is necessary. Propagation is by stem tip cuttings taken at any time of the year.
Acalypha hispaniolae
Common names: Cat tails, Kitten’s tail

Trailing acalypha, plant with small leaves (1-1.5 in long) and unusual foxtail-shaped flowers. Pinch your Acalypha back regularly to keep it bushy and full. Make sure the soil stays evenly moist but drains well, and every two weeks add a complete balanced liquid fertilizer.

Acalypha hispaniolae
Acalypha hispida Burm. (Chenolle plant or Red-hot Catstail)
Chenille Plant prefers full sun in winter, but bright light with protection from direct sun in summer. Water actively growing plants when the soil begins to dry. In winter, allow the soil to dry slightly between watering. Keep water off the flower spikes to prevent disease problems. Do not allow temperatures to drop below 60 degrees. Supplemental humidity may be helpful. Acalypha hispida Burm. (Chenolle plant or Red-hot Catstail)
Acalypha wilkesiana Muell. Arg.
Popularly known as Copperleaf.

Copper Leaf grows well in low to medium light but the foliage is more colorful in brighter light. Allow the soil to dry slightly between watering and keep the plant drier during winter. Best growth occurs at temperatures from 60 degrees to 85 degrees, with night temperatures in the lower end of the range. Avoid exposure to temperatures below 55 degrees. Copper leaf will respond favorably to higher humidity.

Acalypha wilkesiana Muell. Arg.

User-submitted additions and corrections:

22nd May 2009
I bought this cute plant not knowing anything about it (let alone anything about plants to begin with! I'm new to plants...) and I gotta's really tempermental! I absolutely love it, but man, forget to water it one day and it lets you know! It is so charming and I recommend getting one! My friends and family love it and it's a great conversation starter! I had put it in a window that gets strong sun all day, and during the winter it did great but once it began to get hot it shriveled up it a matter of hours. It perks up quickly if you neglect it though. It does require regular "hair cuts", otherwise it will get scraggly and thinned out. It really is kind of a high maintence plant but it'll reward you with its sweet little fluffy tails! They are just so cute, I actually kiss them!! Haha!
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