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Acalypha Species, Chenille Plant, Red-Hot Cattail, Red Hot Cat's Tail

Acalypha hispida

Family: Euphorbiaceae (yoo-for-bee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Acalypha (ak-uh-LY-fuh) (Info)
Species: hispida (HISS-pih-duh) (Info)
Synonym:Acalypha sanderi
Synonym:Ricinocarpus hispidus
View this plant in a garden


Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Sun Exposure:

Light Shade




Foliage Color:



6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers


All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Blooms repeatedly

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From leaf cuttings

From herbaceous stem cuttings

Seed Collecting:

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Bakersfield, California

Chula Vista, California

Long Beach, California

Merced, California

San Diego, California

San Francisco, California

Santa Monica, California

Bartow, Florida

Big Pine Key, Florida

Deland, Florida

Delray Beach, Florida

Fernandina Beach, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida(2 reports)

Gainesville, Florida

Green Cove Springs, Florida

Hollywood, Florida(2 reports)

Mayo, Florida

Melbourne, Florida

Miami, Florida(2 reports)

Ocala, Florida

Oldsmar, Florida

Palm Harbor, Florida

Rockledge, Florida

Sarasota, Florida

Titusville, Florida

Wellborn, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida

Martin, Georgia

Patterson, Georgia

Townsend, Georgia

Ainaloa, Hawaii

Hawaiian Beaches, Hawaii

Honomu, Hawaii

Leilani Estates, Hawaii

Nanawale Estates, Hawaii

Pahoa, Hawaii

South Haven, Michigan

Hermon, New York

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Knoxville, Tennessee

Etoile, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas

Freeport, Texas

Houston, Texas

Kilgore, Texas

Nacogdoches, Texas

Round Rock, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Midland, Washington

Olympia, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Aug 31, 2014, cyndie1968 from Hermon, NY wrote:

my botfriend bought me this plant a year ago for my birthday,I love it,it bloomed all year ,then died back,now this year,has new growth,shaggy looking,no flowers at all,it gets plenty of light,water and I even fert.it ,but no flowering,Im new to this page trying to attach photo of plant ,so ppl can see what im talking about,any help would be appreciated thanks cyndie


On Sep 15, 2013, Chuckie67 from San Francisco, CA wrote:

I stumbled upon this beautiful plant only a few days ago. I had never heard of it before, nor had I ever seen one. I brought it home from the plant store, and could tell it needed a bit of TLC. Well, it came to the right home. I gave it a nice good watering with a good plant food mixed in, and it has been growing so beautifully. I give it lots of light, direct and indirect, and there are new flowers everyday! I absolutely love it!


On Dec 11, 2012, bblack223 from West Park, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

I first saw the hanging basket variety of this plant at Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania & fell in love with it. I purchased one at my local nursery in South Florida when I returned home, but they did not have the hanging basket variety. I was told to give it plenty of water & removing the dead blooms will encourage new ones to grow. This has proven true. I really love this plant, especially as a hanging basket.


On Sep 13, 2012, mj02 from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan,
Canada wrote:

This plant self-seeds here in Saskatchewan, Canada two hours drive north of the US (Montana) border. In sunny, well watered areas it grows up to four or five feet tall with catkins eight inches long. We are growing zone THREE to FOUR. Gets down to minus-20 and more in winter!


On Jul 31, 2010, xcskier from Rapid City, SD wrote:

I just wanted you to know that you can add Rapid City, South Dakota as a sighting of the Chenneille plant to your list of places it has grown. Every year the city of Rapid City maintains several garden and this year I came across the Chenille plant in one of the gardens,the plant is about 4 ft high growing in full sun. FYI; Our growing zone is 4.


On Jun 28, 2010, mfleee from Singapore,
Singapore wrote:

It's VERY easy to grow this plant in Singapore.
I grow my minature chenilles in hanging pots in full sun and make tip cuttings for friends.
They tolerate most soils, even clayey and need little fertilizors.
Pity I did not have the time to take photos of them.


On Jun 28, 2010, jerry31557 from Patterson, GA wrote:

This is a very beautiful plant that can be grown as beautiful hanging baskets, in containers or as a ground cover. No matter where it is planted all it needs is lots of water and dead head the old blooms to promote more blooms. I have found that it needs lots of sun to promote blooms.


On Jun 16, 2010, PammiePi from Green Cove Springs, FL wrote:

I love this plant! I have very good luck growing this plant outside in filtered or partial sun conditions. These plants seem to grow best when sitting in a birdbath basin, where they can get constant water from below. I have one which got burnt back during an unusually cold Florida winter, I cut back the dead branches & it started greening up in early spring, with flowers by April! I've even discovered it growing on the ground near my well, apparently having rooted there when I left a potted plant on the ground. Very tough, easy to grow, & beautiful plant.


On Mar 2, 2010, Otis715 from Melbourne, FL wrote:

I grew this plant very successfully throughout 2009 during very dry conditions, watering it every other day by hand. It was placed against a fence facing West and received a lot of sun after noon each day. Now that we have had a very cold month, with one or two frosty nights, I am concerned that it may not have survived. I am not sure when I should expect to see Spring growth. I am hopeful.


On May 17, 2009, faithiep from Oldsmar, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

Pretty plant. The tag I bought it with said full sun and not too much water. I'm not sure what plant they thought this was, but they were wrong. Give the plant plenty of shade and water to make it happy. If it isn't happy, you'll know immediately - it's such a drama queen, all wilted leaves and such. Don't worry, it bounces back right away. I was disappointed in the water requirements, we're in a terrible drought and it's not really fitting in. But if you have the rainfall, it's a beautiful choice and seems pretty tolerant of mistakes.


On Oct 12, 2008, Lady_fern from Jeffersonville, IN (Zone 6a) wrote:

A great plant for a hanging basket. Requires constant moisture. If it wilts, water immediately. If it gets completely dry, it is dead. Also requires good light when inside. Thrives in a northeast exposure in the summer, but can not tolerate that low light indoors for the winter. It will die. After a winter indoors even in good light it's rather puny, but put it outside and give it fertilizer and it will fill out beautifully very quickly. I love its constant blooms enough to cater to its needs!


On Aug 4, 2008, WillowWasp from Jones Creek, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Some years ago I recived one of these plants as a gift and it was so beautiful. I had it for several years and I guess it some how left my company, maybe cuttings and giving to much of it away. Anyway I have been trying to get another one but just haven't found one. I do see them from time to time at Lowes but my they are soooo expensive now..... It was a real beauty...


On Aug 8, 2005, jnana from South Florida, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

A fast grower and a steady bloomer. No bug problems. Doesn't like it when temperatures drop below 50. Has to be pruned regularly to keep it in shape.


On Jun 15, 2005, Happy_1 from Chicago, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

It has steadily been growing for me since planted 10/04.. I have it in partial sun and it seems to be happy. No bug problems....Hap


On Aug 27, 2004, Jancie from New York, NY wrote:

I have the house plant variety and got them as small starter plants. They are in a hanging basket in a window that gets decent sun. They grew a lot then stopped Im not sure if I watered it too much or not enough....the blooms have started to turn very pail and fall off.


On Aug 26, 2004, tcfromky from Mercer, PA (Zone 5a) wrote:

The Chenille Plants grow rapidly with good water and fertilizer. Red spider mites can be a problem, particularly when the plant is kept inside. Check for leaf discoloration. Scales and mealybugs can also be problems.


On Apr 16, 2004, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

This plant will grow in full sun (not late afternoon sun, though) to part shade. It is an annual everywhere in the US except for the hottest areas, zones 10 - 11. It can spread to 8 feet wide. They can be pruned in the springtime.


On Jan 13, 2003, Jillsie wrote:

I was given this plant for christmas, however, there wasn't a tag attached, so we didnt know what it was.
We kept it outside however, in shade of huge palm tree.
It has seemed to like this position.
We have also discovered it likes to be fed once a week, and is thriving.