Acalypha reptans plants belong to the Euphorbiacee family, which includes numerous varieties of perennial plants mostly native to tropical areas of Southeast Asia. These plants have a rather rapid growth and are distinguished by their large foliage and a dark green color. They develop particular inflorescences about 15 cm long which have numerous flowers without small petals.
The Acalypha reptans prefers very bright positions, but fears direct contact with the sun's rays; the minimum winter must not be below 12-15 ° C, therefore it must be grown in a warm place, while in summer it can be placed outside, in a semi-shady area. Avoid exposing the plant to drafts that could cause the flowers and leaves to fall.
If the plants are placed in places with little light they tend to stretch and do not bloom.
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 Acalypha reptans, it is best to keep the soil constantly humid, but not soaked; it is therefore advisable to water regularly, avoiding harmful water stagnation in the saucer. From March to October, provide fertilizer for flowering plants mixed with the watering water every 15-20 days. Especially in the hottest periods of the year and in the months when domestic heating is on, it is good to frequently vaporize the leaves with distilled water.
This kind of plant prefers loose, well-drained soils rich in organic matter, slightly acidic. The Califfa, another name by which these plants are known, are usually grown in hanging containers, to better bring out the pendulous inflorescences.
The ideal soil for Califfa is made up of peat and beech leaves, so that it has an acid component that is healthy for the plant.
The plants are repotted at the end of winter or at the beginning of the spring season.
In spring and summer it is possible to propagate the plant by practicing woody seed cuttings. The ease of rooting and the rapid growth of the plant allows its cultivation 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, the cuttings that have been grown indoors 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 fly, red spider mites and cochineal.On the market there are special products that help to combat the problem quickly and lastingly, but, in some cases it is also possible to intervene without their use. To eliminate the cochineal from the Califfa, it is possible to use a cloth with alcohol to pass on the leaves; while for the red spider mites an increase in the ambient humidity may be enough as these parasites cannot bear high humidity.