Also called kitten-tail, red hot cat’s tail, and strawberry firetail, this evergreen herbaceous perennial is native to Dominican Republic, Cuba and Haiti and is a member of the spurge family, Euphorbiaceae, that also includes pointsettia, castor bean, and rubber plant. The plants grow 3-5″ tall and have trailing stems bearing tiny, ovate, serrated leaves 3/4″ long. Periodically throughout the year, fluffy, fiery red catkins are produced above the foliage and are composed of feathery pistils of tiny female flowers all packed together. The plants are attractive in a rock garden or cascading over a wall or container. The genus name, Acalypha, comes from the ancient Greek word ἀκαλήφη (akalḗphē) meaning nettle. The specific epithet, pendula, is the Latin word meaning hanging and refers to the trailing nature of the plant.

Type: Herbaceous perennial

Bloom: Fluffy red catkins throughout the growing period

Size: 3-5″ H x 15-18″ W

Light: Full sun to part sun

Soil: Fertile, consistently moist, well-drained

Hardiness: Zones 8-11

Care: Deadhead to encourage rebloom; cut back in late fall to rejuvenate

Pests and Diseases: None of significance but susceptiable to mites, aphids, whiteflies, and scale

Propagation: Stem tip cuttings

Companion Plants: Usualy alone in hanging container

Outstanding Selections: None available

Photo Credit: Yercaud-elango Wikipedia

By Karen