Garden Talk

with Rebecca Jordi

Q: What can you tell me about the chenille plant? I am thinking about putting it in my yard.

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Chenille Plant

Chenille Plant

 A:  There is a standard variety of Chenille plant, Acalypha hispida, and a dwarf plant, Acalypha pendula.  I am going to assume it is the dwarf variety as it is commonly sold in our local garden centers but usually in a hanging basket.  Both types of chenille plants will grow only in South Florida year round.  What makes this plant so attractive is the long, drooping red colored flowers which are shaped like a tail. It almost looks like red fur. These flowers bloom during the warm weather. The dwarf plant grows to about 6 inches whereas the standard variety can reach heights up to 6 feet.  It prefers partial sun to part shade and can tolerate most any type of soil.  Keep the soil moist but well-drained. It is slow growing and I believe in Northeast Florida, it would be better suited for a hanging basket rather than putting it in the ground.  Most likely it will die back in the winter and probably not return so you need to treat it like an annual.  However, you might get lucky and get a season or two out of it but do not be surprised if it does not survive our winters.  It really has no serious disease issues but scale, aphids and mites can be potential problems.  https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fp005

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