All posts by Vesi

Acalypha pendula – Strawberry Firetails

Acalypha pendula Firetail

Originating from Haiti and the Dominican Republic, Acalypha pendula is sometimes referred to as strawberry firetails, dwarf chenille plant, cat tails, and more. It is such a wonderful plant to have. The one in the picture above was hanging on the curtain rod of my east facing window, where it was always covered in fluffy bright tails, dangling over my orchids. This trailing, ground cover plant has small, round, serrated leaves and is perfectly suited for a hanging basket.

Flower production occurs all year, except for the coldest months. Since the flowers take a long time to develop and they last a long time, a well established plant is never out of blooms, making this a true everbloomer.


Watering needs: 

Being a member of the Euphorbiaceae family, this plant can take some neglect in terms of watering. In my experience, it has average watering needs, but can handle the occasional drying out. As always, water more generously in the hot weather and reduce the watering in the cold winter months.


Medium to high light. East, west or south facing windows will do just fine. Having some direct light definitely helps flower production. I have grown and flowered it on a north facing window, but the plant tends to grow leggy and flower less. If you are taking it outside for the summer, it can grow in a shadier area as well. I have not yet tried to grow this plant under grow lights, but I’m excited to try it out.


Acalypha pendula

Pretty tolerant of lower humidity levels, but in my experience higher humidity results in better “tails”production. Generally speaking it’s not a fussy plant when it comes to watering and humidity, but warmth and light seem to be a lot more critical.

Soil Type and Fertilizer:

This fast growing and heavy blooming plant needs a decently rich soil and fertilizer. Either a regular or a blooming fertilizer will work. In terms of soil type and pH, this plant doesn’t seem to have a particular preference.


Since it grows like a ground cover, this plant will self root, and you can simply divide it when repotting, or pull off an “offshoot”. You can also root a cutting fairly easy. Some store bought plants (especially if you bough it in a hanging basket as an annual plant) might be treated with growth inhibitors, making the rooting of a cutting nearly impossible. You might have to give it some time, and after several re-pottings the inhibitor effects will fade away.

Other Care Tips and Personal Observations: 

The furry tails are so fun to look at, and they feel light and furry when you touch them. Although the plant is not toxic to cats and dogs, it is mildly toxic to humans, so be careful if you have small children. The flowers are not fragrant. They start of as tiny, upright pointy things, but still as bright and puffy as the fully grown tails, and as they grow larger the tip rounds off and they start to hang. On the picture below, in the middle of the bottom shelf, you can see a young Acalypha pendula, flowering on a north facing garden window, despite its small size and lack of direct light. This plant is pretty easy to grow. However, it can suffer from spider mites, and underfeeding. Acalypha pendula tends to grow bushy and cover the surface of the pot, so it doesn’t need pruning to look good.

Kohleria ‘Strawberry Fields’

kohleria strawberry fields

Kohleria Strawberry fieldsSee all kohlerias.

Kohleria ‘Strawberry Fields’ is a showy, striking looking hybrid by Patrick Worley.

The large flowers with wide corollas, are intense, deep-red in color, marbled with white, and very closely resemble the flowers of kohleria ‘Red Ryder’.

Unlike ‘Red Ryder’ though, the leaves are very dark and marbled with gray, at least in my experience.kohleria strawberry fields

This is a new addition to my collection, and I have yet to grow it in different conditions, to see how the growth habit and leaves size and color vary.

This hybrid was purchased as a rhizome, along other kohleria hybrids, and was the first to flower. Growing  it from a few, somewhat dried looking rhzomes, to the plant in the pictures, took just under 3 months.

Very showy plant.

Kohleria ‘Ruby’

kohleria rubySee all kohlerias.

Kohleria ‘Ruby’ is a delicate looking plant. Upright grower, with dark leaves and bright ruby-red flowers beautifully displayed all along the stem of the plant.

Even when grown under lights, this plant will most likely require staking.


kohleria ruby


kohleria rubyI absolutely love this hybrid. It has a very neat, delicate growth habit, smaller leaves, but medium sized flowers. The leaves underside and parts of the stem are purple.

Although the plant is upright grower with flowers all along the stems, it still stays relatively small, unlike most hybrids that fall in this category.

In terms of care, this plant requires basic kohleria care, and is extremely easy to grow and flower. 

kohleria ruby


Kohleria ‘Rebecka’

See all kohlerias.
kohleria rebecka

Kohleria ‘Rebecka’ is a beautiful, tall hybrid by Gunilla Svensson. The leaves are dark velvet green, and the high contrast flowers appear in clusters all along the stem of the plant.

It’s a very eye catching plant. I do have a personal bias towards kohleria hybrids that flower all along the stem of the plant, rather than in clusters at the apex. So it’s no surprise that this is one of my most favorite hybrids.

kohleria rebeckaThe flowers are showy, furry, bright red-orange tubes. The flowers have bright yellow faces covered in dark burgundy spots, making them really pop against the dark foliage.

A lovely plant to have. The top two photos are of the plant, when I grew it under LED grow light. Having it under light, made the growth way more compact. The plant on these bottom two photos was grown on a north facing window. Despite being a bit leggy and needing staking, it was still covered with flowers.

In my personal experience this hybrid seems a bit more susceptible to aphids and mealy bugs compared to your average kohleria. Other than that, it is easy to grow and a very generous bloomer.

kohleria rebecka

Kohleria ‘Queen Victoria’

Kohleria queen victoriaKohleria queen victoriaSee all kohlerias.

Kohleria ‘Queen Victoria’ is a medium to large koheria hybrid.

The leaves are dark olive green with a bit of red hue to them, medium sized.

kohleria queen victoriaThis hybrid has large and showy, salmon pink flowers. The flower faces are spotted and start of as bright pink upper half and white bottom half, but the colors eventually fade to an overall light pink.

This particular hybrid (along with a few others) in my experience makes an excellent cut flower. The cuttings will continue to flower and root in the vase, almost indefinitely.

Kohleria ‘Pink Shadows’

See all kohlerias.

Kohleria ‘Pink Shadows’ has large, very dark leaves, that are slightly marbled with lighter silver shades.

The flowers are bright red tubes with light pink faces, and really stand out against the foliage.

Given enough light, the plant will remain fairly short, but it grows quite tall, when grown on a windowsill.

Very showy plant. This hybrid flowers generously, and in my experience, provided warmth and light, it flowers and grows all year-round. It can continue flowering on old growth for a very long time. The stem gets thicker with age and it can start looking almost like a bonsai.

Kohleria ‘Maki’

kohleria maki
See all kohlerias.

Kohleria ‘Maki’ is a tiny kohleria hybrid, that almost looks like a ground cover. In my opinion, it’s perfect for terrarium culture.

This kohleria seems to prefer higher humidity than other hybrids, and seems a lot more susceptible to mealy bug infestations.

Other than that, if the right conditions are met, it’s a very rewarding plant to have. It might be reluctant to flower at first, but once it becomes pot-bound, this plant is never out of flowers. It’s tiny, cute and very endearing. The flowers are very bright and stand out on their long stems.

Kohleria ‘Designer Jewel’

Kohleria Designer Jewel

kohleria designer jewel caseSee all kohlerias.

‘Designer Jewel’ is a medium size kohleria, with relatively large flowers and leaves. This is a beautiful hybrid by Alfredo Lin.

The leaves are light gray and marbled, making this hybrid really stand out. It’s the only hybrid I have with that coloration of the leaves.

The flowers are relatively large too, showy, and appear clustered at the top of the plant. Despite the large leaves and flowers, the plant doesn’t grow very tall.

It’s definitely a showy, generous bloomer, but more of a seasonal one, in my experience.