The Q&A Archives: Plant Identification

Question: I bought this plant because the blooms are so unusual. It is in a hanging basket, no tags from the grower and the person who works in the nursery says it is called a lipstick plant, but it's not! He also told me the botanical name is Chanelli, but it's not... HELP!! Please Smiling The best I can describe it is as follows. It has leaves that are about 1" in diameter or less. They kind of remind me of the leaves of a strawberry plant because of their shape. They are not as hardy as the strawberry leaves though. I would say they are a fine tender leaf. But the blooms are like soft fuzzy catipillars. They are red/dark pink... range from 1/2" to 3" and hang down. They are also about 1/2" maximum in diameter. The stems of the entire plant are also fine, as in narrow, delicate, almost vine like. The man at the nursery also said it was a perennial and that it blooms from November through February. Thank you in advance for any help you can give me in determining what this plant is.

Answer: Your mystery plant is probably Acalypha hispida, also known as the Chenille Plant. There's another variety, called A. pendula, Firetail, with slightly smaller tassels drooping from the stems. This is a tropical plant, quite tender, and is best as a houseplant during the winter months and outdoors in a protected place during spring and summer in your region. If grown in a hanging basket, the stems and tassels will tumble down over the sides of the container, eventually reaching 10' in length. You can pinch the stems back to keep the plant trim and tidy. Provide bright light, and moist, rich soil. Enjoy your new plant!

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