Acalifa: Home Care, Replanting And Propagation

The ornamental deciduous perennial Acalypha (Acalypha) is part of the Molocaceae family. This flower has two forms: an ampelous plant and a shrub. It is native to New Guinea and Malaysia, where it is found in tropical forests. In nature, some varieties can reach a maximum height of about 200 cm. However, the domestic Acalifa usually has a maximum stem length of about 100 centimeters.

The shoots are highly flexible and adorned with oval or lanceolate leaf plates, and their color can be very different: from brownish-red to greenish. The ascending long spike-like inflorescences are made up of small crimson flowers. If you give it the right conditions for its growth and take care of it, it will flower all year round. As you want the shrub to look neat and bloom abundantly, you must cut flowers that have begun to fade in time.

Growing summary

Acalifa: home care, replanting and propagation

  1. Temperature.

    During the warm season, the optimum temperature for acalifa is around 23 degrees. And in winter it should be within 15 degrees.

  2. Humidity of air. Needs high air humidity (at least 50 percent). However, moisten the bush with a sprayer only during the growing season (excluding flowering time).

  3. Lightness. The site should be well lit, light diffused. In shade, the foliage becomes faded, and burns form when it is exposed to direct sunlight.
  4. Pouring. Moisten the substrate systematically.

    In summertime at least 2 times in 7 days, and in wintertime immediately after the top layer of the soil mixture has dried.

  5. Substratum. It must be permeable to water and air as well as nutritious. A ready-made soil mixture purchased at a specialist store can be used. If you want, you can make it yourself: combine peat, sand, sod soil and humus.

  6. Fertilizer. Acalifa is watered with a nutrient solution twice or thrice a month during the vegetation period. A liquid mineral complex for domestic plants is taken for its preparation.
  7. Transplanting. In spring or summer.

    For adult large shrubs, instead of replanting, simply replace the top layer of substrate in the pot every year with a new soil mixture.

  8. Propagation. In spring by seed or by apical cuttings.
  9. Trimming. To ensure that the bush is always neat and showy, both sanitary and formative pruning are done every year: all stems are shortened by ½ of their length.

    Rejuvenating pruning once every 3-5 years: the bush is shortened to 20-30 centimeters.

Akalifa or Foxhopper | Care and cultivation at home

Home care of Acalifa

Acalifa: home care, replanting and propagation


Home Acalifa may bloom at any time of year or even year round. The spiky, fluffy inflorescences are made up of a large number of small red and crimson flowers. Some varieties can have inflorescences up to 50 centimeters long.

To keep your plant looking attractive you must remember to cut off the inflorescences when they start to fade.


Akalifa prefers to stay warm. During the spring and summer, the optimum temperature is 21 to 25 degrees and 12 to 16 degrees during the cold season. If the room will be too hot, it will lead to stretching of shoots and loss of decorativeness of the plant. If the room will be minimally permissible air temperature, it can cause slow growth of the bush and development of various diseases. In addition, a particular danger to acalifa is drafts.

Because of this, it should never be moved outdoors, even in summer.

Air Humidity

Acalifa: home care, replanting and propagation

Accalife is a tropical plant and needs constant high air humidity. Throughout the growing season, it is recommended that the shrub be sprayed systematically with a sprayer. And it is necessary to moisten the air around the plant, not its leaves. To do this, use well-distilled not cold water.

Do not moisten the plant during the flowering period.


This plant is very light-loving, but needs to be protected from direct sunlight. The shrub will do best on a window sill oriented east or west. You can also put it on the southern window, but in this case it will have to be additionally protected from direct sunlight. Don't let the Acalifa grow in a shadowed place as this will make its stems elongated and its leaves small and faded.


Acalifa: home care, replanting and propagation

Pouring should be systematic and moderate at all times of the year. Remember that the root ball in the pot should not be allowed to dry out. Bear in mind that on hot summer days the substrate in the pot dries out much faster. During the winter months, you should water a little less frequently and with less quantity.

Pot selection

The plant feels good in a pot where its root system is quite tight.

That said, don't be in a hurry to purchase an overly small pot for the acalifa, as this will only harm it. The root system should fit normally in the selected container and have a small reserve of space for further growth.

Mixed soil

This flower grows well in almost any soil mixture, as long as it is well-drained and light. A soil mixture consisting of leaf and sod soil, humus, peat and sand, which should be taken in equal parts, is best for its cultivation.


Feeding the acalifa is mandatory from the first spring days until the middle of October.

Mineral complex is used for this purpose, which is applied to the soil mixture with a frequency of once every 15-20 days. Also the plant can be regularly fed with organics. Biohumus, for example, can be used.

Potting Acalifa

Acalifa: home care, replanting and propagation

As a young bush, it has a very fast growth. Because of this, it needs regular repotting into larger pots once a year.

Mature specimens should not be replanted more often than once every 3 or 4 years. Older, larger shrubs can be replanted into a larger container if necessary or simply have the top layer of potting soil systematically changed into a new substrate.


To ensure a neat and tidy appearance at all times, the shrub should be pruned annually in spring time. All stems are cut off, leaving ½ of their length (a little less can be cut back). If necessary, the plant can be rejuvenated by shortening all of its shoots to 0.

2-0.3 meters. To ensure that young shoots appear on the stumps as soon as possible, it is recommended to treat them with a solution of Zircon.

Storming period

Akalifa growing in room conditions will develop normally even without a full resting period. A decrease in daylight hours can signal to the shrub that it is time to rest.

Such a short-lived dormant period does not last long and will require a suspension of nutrients as well as less frequent watering.

Propagation methods

Acalifa: home care, replanting and propagation

Growing from seed

Home grown acalifa is quite possible from seeds. To do this, they are sown in a light and loose substrate consisting of sand and leaf soil. For rapid emergence of seedlings the seeds should be provided with optimal temperature for growth: from 20 to 22 degrees. To maintain the necessary temperature and humidity, it is recommended to place the seedlings in a mini greenhouse.

In this case the seedlings will appear much faster.

After the plants have reached a height of 20 to 30 mm, they are planted in individual cups. They are then cared for in the same way as the adult Acalifa.


All Acalifa species can be propagated by cuttings. However, there is one important rule: The bristle hair Acalifa can be propagated this way only in spring but the variegated ones throughout the year.

For rooting, cuttings are placed in a mini greenhouse and planted in a loose mixture of sand and peat.

Before planting the cuttings for rooting, it is recommended to treat the lower part of the cuttings with a product that stimulates root growth. The cuttings will quickly take root and begin to grow vigorously. Six weeks after planting the cuttings, the upper parts should be pruned so that the bush will grow more vigorous.

Akalifa cuttings and bush division.

Possible problems

Acalifa: home care, replanting and propagation

The Acalifa plant is very demanding and hardy. But if left in a wrong environment or improperly maintained, it can cause various problems or pests. Common problems:

  1. Yellowing and turning away of leaves. The shrub feels an acute lack of moisture, so the watering regime should be adjusted immediately. If nothing is done, it will have a very negative effect on the appearance of the plant.

  2. Leaf blades wither and die off. It is probably very cold in the room. To remedy the situation, move the flower to a place where the temperature is optimal for it.
  3. The foliage becomes faded. This indicates that there is too little nitrogen in the substrate.

    Conduct a fertilization with the proper fertilizer.

  4. Slow bush growth. This problem is caused by a lack of nutrients in the soil mixture. This can be remedied by systematic fertilisation.
  5. Brown spots on the leaves.

    This indicates that the acalifa has a fungal disease. To save it, you should treat it with a fungicide.

The following pests settle on such a plant most often: scabs, mealybugs, aphids and thrips. To get rid of these pests, spray the bush with an insecticide solution.

Acalifa species

Acalifa wilkesiana (Acalypha wilkesiana)

Acalifa: home care, replanting and propagation

This variety was obtained artificially by breeders.

The plant has straight stems that eventually become woody. They have large, simple heart- or oval-shaped leaflets. The spike-like inflorescences consist of small reddish crimson flowers. This acalifa differs from the others in its not quite ordinary foliage color, which can range from mottled brown to greenish.

The variety has 2 forms:

Acalifa: home care, replanting and propagation

  1. Godsefa (Godseffiana).

    There is strong pubescence on the surface of the dark green leaf plates, and a border of golden coloration runs along the edge.

  2. Mosaica (Musaica). The large brownish-red leaf plates are decorated with small spots of dark coloration.

Acalifa bristlewort (Acalypha hispida)

Acalifa: home care, replanting and propagation

Acalifa bristlewort, either Acalypha bristlewort or red cattail.

The species is represented by shrubs.

Its foliage is deep green and its spike-like inflorescences can reach about 50 centimeters in length. This species of calypha is the most popular with florists.

Acalypha haitiana, or cattail (Acalypha hispaniolae)

Acalifa: home care, replanting and propagation

This ampelous plant has slender, flexible stems that reach about 0.3 meters in length. The dark green oval leaf plates have a serrated edge.

The red flowers are part of short, fluffy, spike-like inflorescences.

Benefits and harms of acalifa

Acalifa: home care, replanting and propagation


If you want to improve the environmental conditions of your room and apartment in general, then you should look into acalifa. It can normalize the electrostatics as well as clean the air from pathogens and fungi. In addition, the acalifa shrub helps to stabilize the positive energy in the room, and it also has the ability to have a calming effect on the person in the room.


Acalifa has a rather dangerous poison in any of its parts.

Because of this, a place hard to reach for pets and small children should be chosen for such a plant.

Akalifa bristlewort.


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