Chenille Plant

chenille plant

This plant was given to me as a gift this spring.  With fuzzy red catkins hanging all over it, and small notched leaves, it’s an attractive plant.  It had a little plastic tag hanging on it, but all it said was Chenille Plant.  I usually like to have a little more information than that, so I looked it up online.  Of course, that led me to thousands of websites.  Trying to narrow it down, I learned that Chenille Plant is the common name for a few different types of plants, all of which belong to the Family Euphorbiaceae, which contains about 7,500 species.  Among the other members of this enormous family are the para rubber tree, the castor oil plant, giant cactus-like succulents, and the poinsettia.  Euphorbiaceae is one of the largest plant families, mainly native to the tropics, though a few are considered invasive weeds in North America. 

Sifting through websites, I read about Chenille Plants that grow 12 feet tall and 6 feet wide.  They also have a milky sap inside that causes severe skin irritation.  I found it hard to believe my little plant in the hanging basket was going to be quite that big, so I kept searching.  Finally, I found a picture that was exactly the same, and now I know that it is called a Dwarf Chenille plant, or Acalypha Pendula.  Among other things, it is also called Strawberry Firetail, Chenille Firetail and Kitten Tails. This type only gets about 8 inches tall, and can get used as a ground cover, or in containers. It is slightly toxic, but not nearly as much as the bigger ones.  The dwarf plants are supposed to be quite picky about their care, wanting to be misted with water frequently, not watered too often, just the right amount of sun, etc..  I enjoy having flowers in my yard, but misting them is not my top priority.  I watered it when it seemed dry, hung it in a mostly sunny spot and left it alone.  It had fuzzy catkins all summer, and still has some in October.  The leaves are green and healthy looking.  Apparently the care I gave it was satisfactory. 

The Dwarf Chenille plant is originally from Cuba, and prefers more tropical conditions.  In the United States, it prefers hardiness zones 9-11.  My part of Michigan is zone 5.  According to my sources, this plant is not happy when the temperature goes below 50 degrees.  That was about 3 weeks ago around here.  It still looks good, but I did bring it inside today, hoping it will survive the winter indoors.  We’ll see how it goes.

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3 Responses to “Chenille Plant”

  1. Florida Landscaping Ideas | Landscaping Ideas Says:

    […] Chenille Plant […]

  2. susan Says:

    yes im really trying to find this plant fuzzy chenille my aunt had them but havent been able to find any since she passed away would like to know where to locate im in nc

  3. Buy HP TouchPad Says:

    You couldnt be more on the level.

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