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The plants of Acalypha reptans belong to the Euphorbiaceae family, which includes numerous varieties of perennial plants originating mainly from tropical areas of Southeast Asia. These plants have a fairly rapid growth and are characterized by 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 locations, but fears direct contact with the sun's rays; the winter minimum must not be less than 12-15 ° C, so it must be grown in a warm place, while in summer it can be placed outside, in a partially shaded area. Avoid exposing the plant to drafts that could cause flowers and leaves to fall.
If the plants are placed in places with little brightness they tend to lengthen and do not bloom.
The environment, then, must have the right degree of humidity because otherwise the plant will lose the leaves.
As for the watering of the Acalypha reptans, it is good to keep the soil constantly moist, 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 water for watering every 15-20 days. Especially in the hottest periods of the year and in the months in which the domestic heating is working it is good to frequently vaporize the leaves with distilled water.
This kind of plant prefers loose, well-drained, rich in organic matter, slightly acid soils. The Califfa, another name with which these plants are known, are usually cultivated in hanging containers, to better highlight the pendulous inflorescences.
The ideal soil for Califfa is formed by peat and beech leaves, so that it has an acid component that is healthy for the plant.
Plants repot 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 easy rooting and rapid growth of the plant allows it to be cultivated in the garden as an annual: at the end of summer cuttings are taken from the plant that is left to freeze outside; the following year the cuttings that were 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 the white fly, red spider mites and cochineal. On the market there are special products that help to quickly and lastingly combat the problem, but in some cases it is also possible to intervene without their use. To eliminate the cochineal from Califfa, it is possible to use a cloth with alcohol to pass on the leaves; while for red spider mice, an increase in environmental humidity may suffice as these pests do not tolerate high humidity.