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Acalypha herzogiana 'Firetail'

Firetail Trailing Red Cattail

This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.

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Item #: 5555

Zones: 7b to 10b

Dormancy: Winter

Height: 8" tall

Culture: Part Sun to Light Shade

Origin: Cuba

Pot Size: 3.5" pot (24 fl. oz/0.7 L)

(aka: Acalypha pendula, reptans) The marvelous selection of the South American (Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay) native Acalypha herzogiana has been hopelessly mis-identified as 3-4 other species until a 2011 DNA finally revealed its true identity. Since the early 1980s when Acalypha 'Firetail' hit the horticultural market, this neutered form with no floral stamens, has been a prized for containers and hanging basket specimen, but few folks ever tried it for winter hardiness. Imagine our surprise when in the mid '80s it survived 0 degrees F in the garden. Since then, Acalypha 'Firetail' has been one of our favorite summer flowering perennials. The 8" tall x 2' wide clumps of small, fuzzy green leaves are adorned all summer with 5-7" long, trailing, fuzzy red cattails. Buying a plant is far safer than creating the same effect with your own feline. If you live in cooler winter climates, Acalypha 'Firetail' is delightful for hanging baskets and summer containers.


The only required maintenance, and one required not by the plant but by the tidy minded gardener, is to cut the plant to the ground after frost kills it back.

Growing Conditions:

Full sun to light shade and average soil, not soggy, nor excessively dry. Easy. This is a low growing, spreading plant so front of a planting or at the top of a wall where it can cascade down.

Garden Value:

Fun, fun, fun. Fuzzy coral-red caterpillar like flowers (infloresences) the size of the beloved wooly-bear caterpillar adorn this plant all summer. Amusement and amazement are values as well. It is a member of that crazy plant family, the Euphorbiaceae which ranges from our most common garden weeds to some of the worlds rarest desert succulents and seemingly almost everything in between including Poinsettia.