The plants of Acalypha reptans belong to the Euphorbiaceae family, which includes many varieties of perennial plants originating mostly from tropical areas of Southeast Asia. These plants grow rather quickly and are distinguished by their large, dark green foliage. They develop particular inflorescences, about 15 cm long, with numerous flowers without small petals.
The Acalypha reptans prefers very luminous positions, but fears the direct contact with the sun rays; the winter minimum must not be less than the 12-15 °C, therefore it is to be cultivated in a warm place, whilst in summer it can be placed outside, in a semi-shaded zone. Avoid exposing the plant to air currents which could cause the fall of the flowers and the leaves.
If plants are placed in places with little light they tend to stretch and do not flower.
The environment, then, must have the right degree of humidity because otherwise the plant will lose its leaves.
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As for the watering of the Acalypha reptans, it is best to keep the soil constantly moist, but not soggy; therefore we suggest watering regularly, avoiding harmful waterlogging in the saucer. From March to October provide fertilizer for flowering plants mixed with the water of the watering every 15-20 days. Especially during the hottest periods of the year and in the months when the domestic heating is in operation, it is advisable to vaporize the leaves frequently with distilled water.
This kind of plant prefers loose soils, well drained, rich of organic matter, slightly acidic. The Califfa, another name with which these plants are known, are usually cultivated in hanging containers, in order to better emphasize the hanging inflorescences.
The ideal soil for the Califfa is made up of peat and beech leaves, so that it has an acidic component that is healthy for the plant.
The plants are repotted at the end of the winter or at the beginning of the spring season.
In spring and summer it is possible to propagate the plant by making semi-woody cuttings. The ease of rooting and the rapid growth of the plant allows it to be grown in the garden as an annual: at the end of summer, cuttings are taken from the plant which is left to freeze outside; the following year, cuttings which have been grown at home during the winter are planted in the garden.
The cuttings should be placed in a container with a mixture of sand and peat, to be kept in a sheltered place and at a constant temperature, around 25 ° C.
Califfa – Acalypha reptans: Parasites and diseases
This plant can be attacked by white flies, red spiders and cochineals, and there are special products on the market to help combat the problem quickly and permanently, but in some cases it is also possible to intervene without their use. To remove the cochineal from the Caliph, you can use a cloth with alcohol to pass on the leaves, while for red spiders may suffice to increase the humidity environment as these pests do not stand a high humidity.