Acalypha Species, Dwarf Chenille, Firetail

Acalypha reptans

Family: Euphorbiaceae (yoo-for-bee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Acalypha (ak-uh-LY-fuh) (Info)
Species: reptans (REP-tanz) (Info)
Synonym:Acalypha pendula
Synonym:Acalypha chamaedrifolia
Synonym:Acalypha repens


Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


12-18 in. (30-45 cm)


12-15 in. (30-38 cm)


USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

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



Bloom Color:

Scarlet (dark red)

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Blooms repeatedly

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Anniston, Alabama

Cherokee Village, Arkansas

Carlsbad, California

Los Angeles, California

Mission Viejo, California

San Diego, California

San Francisco, California

San Rafael, California

Santa Monica, California

Bartow, Florida

Big Pine Key, Florida

Bradley, Florida

Deltona, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Hollywood, Florida

Homestead, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Niceville, Florida(2 reports)

Oldsmar, Florida

Orlando, Florida

Palm Harbor, Florida

Pompano Beach, Florida(2 reports)

Sebastian, Florida

Stuart, Florida

Tallahassee, Florida

Tampa, Florida

Vero Beach, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida

Weston, Florida

Zephyrhills, Florida

Townsend, Georgia

Barbourville, Kentucky

Baton Rouge, Louisiana(2 reports)

Zachary, Louisiana

Britton, Michigan

Canton, Mississippi

Senatobia, Mississippi

Orient, New York

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Wilmington, North Carolina

Portland, Oregon

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Woonsocket, Rhode Island

Anderson, South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina

Austin, Texas

Beaumont, Texas

Houston, Texas

New Caney, Texas

Nome, Texas

Richmond, Texas

San Antonio, Texas(2 reports)

Fredericksburg, Virginia

Kalama, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On May 12, 2018, parrotma32578 from Niceville, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I planted this in my garden and now it has taken over. The runners are deep and many. I pull and dig to no avail. If you want this plant, put in a pot - not in the ground!


On Sep 19, 2015, Jen_FloridaGardener from Palm Harbor, FL wrote:

I planted several of these as groundcover in an area where they'd mostly get dappled part sun in late summer. They are easy to get established, but not a flower in sight. Can anyone tell me how long it takes before they start flowering? Thanks!


On Apr 29, 2015, annhelen from Townsend, GA wrote:

I live in coastal Georgia, zone 8b. Years ago I used to have this in pots but would set them outside on the ground for summer. Then I left them outside through winter and discovered they escape from the pot and run all over. Now they are the ground cover for a bed of roses and perennials. They cover the entire bed and bloom all spring, summer and fall. They don't get very tall and I think are an ideal ground cover here. The blooms, however, do not drape as they do in pots, but stick straight up like little kitten tails. Very charming. People ask me what it is. Not invasive, just very useful for this purpose and lovely. Dormant in winter but Spring brings it right out again.


On Jul 23, 2012, gardenpackrat from Tampa, FL wrote:

I tried and tried to root this plant and have finally had success. I have it in beds by my front door and it blooms all the time, I really like it BUT it has started to seed in another area and I am having to weed, quite a bit more than I like. It is in ground and wintered in Tampa fine. Not hard to pull up but better in a contained area where spreading is not a problem. It looks great with the red flowers.


On Apr 29, 2012, champcooper from Houston, TX wrote:

Bought this plant 3 yrs ago and it never stops blooming - likes it on the dry side and I try to fertilize almost everytime I water (2-3 times a week). The frequent fertilizing makes for huge fuzzy blooms. I cover it when we have a freeze (rare in Houston, Tx). My plants are in almost full shade ( a little morning sun) under a huge live oak and a slated patio cover. They just keep growing and blooming - a wonderful plant!


On May 4, 2010, Melissabarrow1 from Philadelphia, PA wrote:

I just purchased the prettiest pink firetail chenille plant.

Is this safe to have around cats?


On Apr 5, 2010, beadabunch from Senatobia, MS wrote:

I absolutely love this plant! I am not one that does well with plants at all...but, so far I've manged to keep the two that I bought last year alive and well. The man I purchased them from said they were "bottle brush plants". I was searching today to see about how to divide them up properly because mine are growing beautifully and I wanted to share some with my friend. Boy was I surprised to find out what they are actually called. (I'm thinkin maybe that guy at that nursery didn't know his apples from bananas) LOL! No worries! I call em' my "wooliebooger plants" LOL! These plants love lots of water and sunshine....just not toooo much of either. Too much of a good thing can be bad for you and your plants! But I guess you can say "they thrive well here in northern Mississippi!


On Feb 9, 2010, trackinsand from mid central, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

i do like this plant but be aware that if you plant it in the ground, it does spread by underground runners. it dies back during heavy frosts or freezes and you think it's gone but come summer time, it pops back up better than ever. i prefer to keep mine in a big, bottomless pot sunk into the garden. it seems to contain it better.


On Oct 31, 2009, pbunch from Piedras Blancas,
Colombia wrote:

From Medellin, Colombia

This plant does very well here in Medellin, Colombia. It is popular and appears to have been grown in the area for some time. A friend gave me some divisions and they are moving along very well.


On Jun 26, 2009, hmingbrd from Sebastian, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

When I first bought this plant I hung it from a tree that hadn't leafed out yet because the tag said it needed full sun, and it was not at all happy in that much sun. The tree got it's leaves soon though and he was much happier with the dappled light, re-leafing and then blooming steadily ever since.


On Mar 6, 2008, Annie68776 from South Sioux City, NE wrote:

I really like this plant, and don't see it around too often. The first two winters with this plant was misserable. It would drop all leaves and almost die, when we brought it in for the winter. We tried to condition it in for a while then out for a while before the first frost. No help, I was tempted to just cut it all the way back and hope for the best. This year we experimented with misting it since it seamed to like the himidity. It does not like to be dry, three times a day with the mister seams to be about right. It has started to bloom again this month. Small birds usually try to pick at the blooms early in the year, but leave it alone after the first few attemts. Must taste bad. ;-)


On Jan 6, 2007, buttonsamy from San Rafael, CA wrote:

Gorgeous plants with smaller blooms than some of the other chenille plant varieties. I do love these plants and they are great for indoors. They can be hard to get to bloom, use indoor plant fertilizers and keep well watered. They do not like colder weather. I bring mine into the bathroom with me when I shower to give it some humidity. It seems to like that. (well, as far as I can tell)


On Jan 6, 2007, buttonsamy from San Rafael, CA wrote:

I love this plant! Commonly called a Strawberry Firetail or "Chenille Plant". I just recently purchased 3 small 4" plants and one large 6" plant. I have tried growing this plant many times before, and never had much success at getting it to "bloom". However, I lived in a small place that was rather cold and had little sunlight. Now, The plants are on a lovely plant stand and get good morning light. I am hopeful that the plants will flourish and bloom now that they are warm and get a decent amount of light.

If anyone has any tips for growing these lovely plants indoors and getting them to flower, please let me know. I will be fertilizing them as well to help "entice them" into growing. The larger of the plants is now in a self watering pot. I've been bringing it into the bath... read more


On May 4, 2006, polewoman from Warana Beach,
Australia wrote:

I live in Queensland Australia, I planted a small pot of acalypha reptans in my garden, looked gorgeous took over. I eventually had to pull some out, everytime I touched it and this is wearing gardening gloves I got these violent headaches 24/7 that would last a week, I was getting in the garden every fortnight, so every two weeks I would end up with these violent headaches, sometimes vomiting. I am now acalypha reptan free and have'nt had a headache for about 8 months. I would like to know if anyone else has experienced this problem, or similar.



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

Low maintenance plant. Blooms constantly and spreads rapidly. No pest or disease problems. Doesn't take low temperatures too well.


On Aug 5, 2005, vossner from East Texas,
United States (Zone 8a) wrote:

I use mine as a groundcover also. very pretty, did not die for me in winter. low maint. spreads but easy to remove.


On Jan 4, 2005, DawnRain from Bartow, FL wrote:

It has been living with no care in my zone 9 garden for 3 years now. Frost has not bothered it, possibly it is protected by taller plants overhead. Has bloomed through wet and dry and made a lovely unusual ground cover. Children are especially fascinated by it.


On Jan 3, 2005, Dogzilla from Tallahassee, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

Note, the hardiness zones are no joke. I left mine outside in zone 8b during a light freeze and it's dead! Bring 'em inside!


On Nov 16, 2004, RDT from Crossville, TN (Zone 6b) wrote:

Nice looking. I use it as a houseplant in the winter and then it remains outside once our weather has warmed.


On Sep 29, 2003, Biwako from Chula Vista, CA wrote:

I have grown this plant both in Japan, near Tokyo, and now in San Diego, CA. In both places it seemed happy in shade or dappled shade and flowered profusely. Here I leave it in the ground all year round, but in Japan, I used to pot it up and bring it in for the winter, no problem. Kept it a bit back from a window with south exposure so it got bright light, and it prospered. I do recall that when given full, bright sun in that window, it was unhappy, so I draped it with a very thin scarf on sunny days.
Far from making a shrub, it lies prostrate on the ground and spreads by forming new roots at (don't know exactly how to describe this) the nodes that touch the soil. Several times I have either dug up these new rooted sections and sent them in trades or transplanted them, but sometime... read more


On Jun 19, 2003, tekva01 wrote:

I've had my red firetail plant in a hanging basket,outside, in moderate sun. I live in Wisconsin- temp. now (summer) is averaging in the 70's day, 50's night.

I keep the soil moist (moderate). It is thriving. I have tendrils that are over a foot long, and heavy "tails".
Perhaps I'll try bringing it in the house when it turns cooler outside. It is a real conversation piece.


On May 31, 2003, olive2 from Kewaskum, WI wrote:

I just bought this plant in a hanging basket. I have it outside for the summer and will bring it into the house in the winter.


On Apr 29, 2003, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro,
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

This species is a small version of the common Red-Hot Cat Tail. The general requirements are also quite similar. The only differences I notice is the bloom (never get so long) and the habitus (herbaceous, very short plant).