Acalypha hispida is a sturdy tropical shrub that will produce unusual reddish-purple blooms during spring and summer. The fuzzy blooms, which can reach 18 inches in length, are the reason for the plant's common name, 'chenille plant.' Acalpyha hispida isn't difficult to propagate from stem cuttings, but if you don't live in a climate that is warm and humid year round, plant Acalphya hispida in a container and bring it indoors when the weather turns cold.
Use sharp pruners to cut a five-inch length of stem from a healthy Acalypha hispida plant. Cut the stem immediately below a leaf or bud, and be sure the stem has a minimum of three to five leaves.
Fill a three- or four-inch planting container with sand or a mixture of half peat moss and half perlite. Be sure the planting container has a drainage hole in the bottom.
Set the planting container in a saucer of water until the potting mixture is thoroughly damp. Remove the container from the saucer before the soil turns soggy, because excessive moisture will rot the Acalypha hispida stem cutting. Make a planting hole in the potting mixture with a pencil or a small dowel.
Strip the leaves from the bottom half of the Acalypha hispida stem cutting. Roll the cut end of the stem cutting in powdered rooting hormone, covering about an inch of stem. Plant the Acalypha hispida stem cutting in the hole, and tamp the soil firmly around the stem cutting.
Place the container in a plastic bag, and attach the bag to the stem with a rubber band. If the plastic is secure, the cutting will need no water until the stem has rooted.
Place the Acalypha hispida stem cutting in a sunny place away from direct sunlight. Although the soil will stay damp for an extended period of time, check the cutting daily. If you don't see condensation on the inside of the bag, open the bag and spray the soil. The Acalypha hispida cutting should root in three to four weeks.
Remove the Acalypha hispida cutting from the plastic bag when the cutting has rooted. The easiest way to determine if the cutting has rooted is to tug lightly on the stem. If you feel resistance to your tug, the cutting has probably taken root.
Move the Acalypha hispida to full sunlight, and keep the soil moist, but not soggy. Once the roots are at least an inch long, transplant the Acalypha hispida to a six-inch container filled with commercial potting soil. If you live in a warm, humid climate, the Acalypha hispida can be planted outdoors. Otherwise, leave the plant in a container and if desired, move the plant to a patio or porch during warm weather.
Things You Will Need
- Sharp pruners
- 3- or 4-inch planting container
- Sand or peat moss and perlite
- Pencil or small dowel
- Plastic bag
- Rubber band
- Spray bottle
- 6-inch planting container with drainage hole
- Commercial potting soil