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Cooperleaf Acalypha wilkesiana

Previously known as:

  • Acalypha godseffiana
  • Acalypha tricolor
Phonetic Spelling
ack-a-LIE-fa wil-KEH-see-a-na
Description

A fast-growing tropical evergreen shrub native to Fiji and neighboring South Pacific islands.  It has 4 to 8-inch heart-shaped leaves that come in a variety of mottled color combinations of green, purple, yellow, orange, copper, crimson, pink, or white.  The genus name Acalypha comes from the Greek name for nettles because of the nettle-like appearance of the leaves.  The specific epithet references Charles Wilkes.

Requires consistently moist, well-drained soil or leaf drop will occur.  Great accent in containers, most commonly grown as a houseplant or in a hanging basket or patio container that can be brought indoors over the winter.  Separate male and female flowers appear on the same plant, male spikes long and hanging with female spikes short.  Stems may be pinched to manage size, shape, and promote bushiness.

 

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Houseplants, Succulents, and Cacti", a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.   

More information on Acalypha.

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Blackie'
  • 'Bronze Pink'
  • 'Margarita'
  • 'Tricolor'
'Blackie', 'Bronze Pink', 'Margarita', 'Tricolor'
Tags:
#purple#evergreen#full sun tolerant#houseplant#annuals#perennials#white flowers#shrub#showy leaves#colorful leaves#interiorscape#variegated leaves#low maintenance#summer flowers#crimson leaves#copper leaves#patio planting#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#tropical feel#container plants
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Blackie'
  • 'Bronze Pink'
  • 'Margarita'
  • 'Tricolor'
'Blackie', 'Bronze Pink', 'Margarita', 'Tricolor'
Tags:
#purple#evergreen#full sun tolerant#houseplant#annuals#perennials#white flowers#shrub#showy leaves#colorful leaves#interiorscape#variegated leaves#low maintenance#summer flowers#crimson leaves#copper leaves#patio planting#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#tropical feel#container plants
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Acalypha
    Species:
    wilkesiana
    Family:
    Euphorbiaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Leaf Cutting
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Fiji and South Pacific Islands
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Houseplant
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    3 feet-6 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    10b, 10a, 11b, 11a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    Capsule containing hard seeds
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Spike
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Size:
    > 6 inches
    Flower Description:
    8-inch slender spikes of insignificant green or red flowers. Separate male and female flowers appear on the same plant. Male spikes are long and hang, female spikes are short.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Orange
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Variegated
    White
    Leaf Feel:
    Prickly
    Rough
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Cordate
    Elliptical
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Striking copper-green leaves splashed with a multitude of colors that vary between cultivars. The size ranges from 4"-8" long and usually heart-shaped with serrate margins.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Hanging Baskets
    Houseplants
    Patio
    Small Space
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Specimen