Garden Tips on Growing the Chenille Plant
As a child, I was always Fascinated with the chenille plant that we called cattail. The chenille garden plant produces a very interesting flower that resembles a cattail hence the name that fits this garden beauty so wonderfully. My father who is now deceased worked as a gardener and handyman and as far as I can remember I along with my sister and brother who is older than I am, went with our dad on Saturdays to work, His responsibilities were to take care of a few properties which was so much fun.
On one of these properties were many chenilles which grew that we played with. It is so amazing as kids how we can use our imagination and create anything and have so much fun, my how time flies it was just like yesterday the good part, however, is to always have those memories and cherish them.
The chenille is an evergreen plant that is native to Asia, Papuasia, and Malesia this tropical beauty belongs to the family of Euphorbiaceae. This evergreen which is a fast grower can get up to a height of 15 ft and grows best in zones 9-10. Chenilles are a show stopper and will give your garden and landscape designs that WOW so if you are up for it and feel that you would be happy installing this garden beauty then let’s take a closer look as we enter the Fascinating World of the chenille plant.
A sunny- partial sunny location is a must if your chenille is to grow and maintain its healthy natural look.
The chenille plant can grow in a range of soils from clay, loam to sandy. The soil ph can be anywhere from 5-5.7
Chenille does not like wet feet but it is important to keep the soil moist especially during the growing season however monitor the amount of water you are giving your chenille because too much water can lead to root rot.
A triple ten or 10-10-10 fertilizer from early March to early September will keep your chenille in good shape. Before fertilizing read and follow the manufacturer’s directions.
Garden insect pests of the chenille plant
What I love about these garden shrubs is that they have few pest problems but keep a watch for these garden insect pests.
- Spider Mites
Whiteflies are tiny white-winged insects that feed by sucking the plant’s fluids which can lead to yellowing of the leaves followed by leaf drop. To identify whiteflies gently shake or tap the leaves, if a bunch of white insects dislodges from the tree and then quickly re-attaches they are whiteflies. The use of insecticidal soaps will bring these garden insect pests under control.
Mealybugs are tiny insects that are covered with a white cottony waxy mask. These garden pests are among the family of plant pests that sucks the plant’s fluids causing yellowing of the leaves and leaf drop. The use of insecticidal soap will bring them under control or a homemade remedy of soap liquid and water will help.
1 tablespoon of dish liquid to a gallon of water shaken well and added to a 32 oz spray bottle will have you armed and dangerous. When applying this mixture get total coverage of the leaves on both the top and underside this soap mixture will eliminate them. Apply and wait for 7 days to see if they are still alive if so apply another application.
Spider mites are very tiny but can cause huge damage to our garden plants, to know if your plants have spider mites look for spider webs along with your plant taking on a dusty appearance. What you can also do to further test your finding is to place a sheet of white paper under the plant’s leaves and gently shake or tap.
If it is spider mites you will see tiny specks or spots moving around on that sheet of paper and if the infestation is very server you will feel them crawling around on your hands. Spider mites will also cause yellowing of the leaves followed by leaf drop apply the same methods as you would with mealybugs to bring them under control.
Diseases of the chenille
When a garden plant contracts a disease it can really take away from the beauty of that plant. But if the proper measure is taking quickly your plant may bounce back to good health or applying proper cultural practices can prevent plant disease. When it comes to your chenille garden plant remember not to overwater as discussed earlier because this can lead to root rot. Also when watering doesn’t allow the leaves and foliage to get wet, water from the ground or soil level.
Ideas on where to install the chenille plant
Here are just a few ideas on where you can install your chenille.
1. These garden beauties can be used as a specimen plant.
2. Planting them alongside a fence looks great.
3. What about installing them alongside a wall.
4. Lining a walkway with them will look so amazing.
5. Can be used as a backdrop in a garden plant bed.
6. Place them in containers and locate them on either side of your front door.
7. Install them in containers and place the containers on your porch or patio.
8. Grow as a foundation shrub.
Growing chenille in containers
Growing chenille in containers is a great way to grow and care for these garden beauties when growing chenille from containers ensure that the container is large enough to accommodate your chenille at maturity. The container should have drain holes to allow excess water to drain, the use of good garden soil which can hold moisture but allow excess water to drain is a good choice.
After your chenille is installed place the container in an area that gets full to partial sun, water your plant thoroughly. Allow the soil to dry somewhat but not completely then give your chenille another drink.
Growing chenille from baskets
This is so amazing and very beautiful, growing chenilles from a hanging basket I believe is so cool, follow the same procedure as when installing in containers. Keep an eye out for garden insect pests and treat as discussed earlier, the soil should always be moist, when watering water from the soil level doesn’t allow the water to get on the leaves or flowers.
The basket should be hanged in an area that gets full to partial sun. When growing chenilles from a hanging basket it is so good to keep a sharp pruner on hand to keep it at a size and form which will have it looking great.
Pruning your chenille plant
It is good to keep your chenille well-groomed so it can retain its natural beauty along with having a fuller plant and more flower bloom. The best time to prune your chenilles shrub is late winter to early spring. When pruning ensure that your pruner is sharp and sterilized, Cutting your chenille back to about 12 inches should be sufficient.
The final word
Chenilles are garden beauties that will enhance your landscape and garden design. The unique flowers make this plant a must-have, bringing that much-needed flavor. I have seen first hand what these shrubs bring to the table. Give these babies a try and you will see what the big buzz is all about as you get a taste of the tropics with these tropical beauties that are worth the investment. With that said let’s get started on these wonder plants which are so amazing.