February 1, 2023
Acalypha hispida

Acalypha hispida or Red-hot Cat's Tail

Acalypha hispida is an evergreen shrub. It is native to New Guinea and Malaya (pokok ekor kucing). It is part of the Euphorbiaceae family of plants. It is also known as Acalypha sanderiana, Acalypha sanderi, Red-hot Cat’s Tail, Chenille Plant, Foxtail, Phillippines Medusa.

This is an unusual plant. Especially the flowers, which are drooping, red, and furry. Actually, the translation of the Latin name “hispida” is “bristly”.

Acalypha hispida
Acalypha hispida or Red-hot Cat’s Tail or Foxtail

Acalypha hispida grows from 1.5 to 4m or 5 to 13ft. However, as it is mostly grown indoors in pots it grows to about 1m or 3ft. There are male and female plants. The female plant grows red flowers all year round depending on the climate. Acalypha hispida has large green, oval leaves.

How to grow Acalypha hispida:

Grow it in a lot of light filtered light or diffused sun. Plant Acalypha hispida in moist, well-drained soil or compost, water freely, and fertilize. In winter water it less. In warm climates, it can be grown outdoors where it could grow into a larger shrub.

Acalypha hispida is poisonous. It can irritate the skin if it is touched a lot. The plant is disease-free and mostly pest-free. Watch out for aphids. They should be controlled immediately or they will destroy the plant. If it is grown in a greenhouse you might also watch out for glasshouse whitefly, red spider mite, and mealybugs.

Acalypha hispida
Acalypha hispida or Foxtail at Kew Garden

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