Tag Archives: Philippines Medusa

Here’s How to Effectively Take Care of a Hanging Chenille Plant

The chenille plant gets its name from its droopy catkins that resemble the chenille yarn. It is also said that the name is derived from the French word chenille that means caterpillar, indicating the furry flowers. This tropical plant belongs to the genus Acalypha in the spurge family Euphorbiaceae. The chenille plant is also called red hot cat’s tail, fox tail, Philippines Medusa, etc. The plant is available as large specimens (Acalypha hispida) that grow as shrubs. Some of the smaller specimens are ideal as hanging plants or as creepers. Irrespective of their size, the requirements of different chenille varieties are almost similar.

The most common species, called Acalypha hispida, is an evergreen plant with a thick foliage. It blooms throughout the year, and the bright red catkins are long and furry. Being dioecious, male and female flowers develop on separate plants. While female flowers are long and brilliantly colored, male flowers are inconspicuous. So, plants sold by garden centers and nurseries are usually females. They are ideal as accent plants, hedges, or borders.

Acalypha hispida can be grown as hanging plants too. Apart from that, another species, called Acalypha pendula, has shorter catkins and small, serrated leaves. This trailing variety is ideal for hanging baskets and containers and is popular as dwarf chenille plant. Otherwise known as strawberry firetail, this plant can be grown as ground cover too.

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