Acalypha : Greenhouse Plants
T – tropical, minimum of 18°C (65°F)
There are two species in cultivation. Acalypha hispida from New Guinea is the Chenille Plant and is grown for its long tassels of red flowers which in some forms can reach 30 cm (1 ft) or more in length. It needs a minimum temperature of 18°C (65°F) to do really well, growing to a height of 2-2.5 m (6-8 ft) and flowers throughout the year when happy. Plants that become too large respond well to being cut back hard. Cuttings 8-10 cm (3-4 in) long with a heel if possible root well in spring and summer given warmth and humidity. I would favour a peat-based. A. wilkesiana and its several varieties are grown for their attractive foliage of greens, orange and copper. While preferring a tropical house it is possible to grow them at a winter minimum of 10°C (50°F). In this case they should be allowed to go dormant by reducing water and letting the leaves drop. A couple of good waterings will see them through to spring when they can be gradually given more water as light and heat increase. Prune back by a good two-thirds in spring and grow on. Unfortunately, they are prone to attack by red spider mite and constant vigilance is necessary to keep them at bay.