ACALYPHA

FAMILY: Euphorbiaceae

TYPE
  • Evergreen
  • Shrubs
SUN EXPOSURE
  • Full Sun
WATER
  • Regular Water

Plant Details

All three species described here are native to Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. Beyond their hardiness range, they can be grown indoors; species Acalypha wilkesiana and Acalypha pendula can be used as annuals in cold-winter areas. All bloom intermittently during the warm months and all must have good drainage. Pinch young plants regularly to encourage bushy growth. Feed houseplants monthly in summer; reduce watering in winter.

chenille plant

FIRETAIL

acalypha hispida

  • Can grow to a bulky 10 feet tall and 6 feet wide.
  • Heavy, rich green leaves to 8 inches wide.
  • Flowers come in hanging, 112 feet-long clusters that look similar to tassels of crimson chenille.
  • Produces heaviest bloom in early summer, with scattered bloom all year.
  • Thrives in semitropical and tropical climates.
  • This shrub can also be grown in a greenhouse or enclosed patio or, with heavy pruning, indoors.

acalypha reptans(Acalypha pendula)

  • Resembles Acalypha hispida in flower form, but plant is much smaller; shorter tassels droop from trailing branches.
  • Good atop a wall or in a hanging basket.
  • Root hardy in LS, CS; USDA 8-9 with excellent drainage.

COPPERLEAF

acalypha wilkesiana(Acalypha tricolor)

  • Foliage more colorful than many flowers.
  • Often used as an annual, substituting for flowers from late summer to frost.
  • Leaves to 8 inches long, in color combinations including bronzy green mottled with red and purple; red with crimson and bronze; and green edged with crimson and stippled with orange and red.
  • In a warm, sheltered spot it can grow as a shrub to 6 feet or taller, nearly as wide.
  • Outdoor potted plants should be kept slightly dry through winter.

Selections worth trying include the following.

Bronze Pink

  • Vivid coral-pink foliage randomly blotched with bronze appears lit from within.

Ceylon Lime

  • Leaves have blotches of cream, lime, and dark green, yet typically glossy.

Cypress Elf

  • To about 3 feet tall and wide, with threadlike leaves in green and shades of red and gold.
  • Sold under various names, including Acalypha 'Mardi Gras' and Acalypha godseffiana.

Heterophylla

  • Reaches just 1122 feet high and wide.
  • Narrow, wavy-edged, weeping leaves to 2 inches long are reddish brown with coral margins.

Macafeeana

  • Vigorous plant grows 34 feet high and almost as wide in a single season; tops out at 1215 feet in frost-free areas.
  • Giant, (to 1 feet-long) heart-shaped leaves in red and bronze tones.

Marginata

  • Reaching 36 feet tall and wide, this is the most familiar form with bronze leaves edged in pink.

Musaica

  • Distinguished by large leaves blotched in bright pink, coral, and bronze.

Obovata

  • To 5 feet tall and about as wide.
  • Oval, 4- to 6 inches-long, slightly weeping leaves are chocolate-brown with hot pink edges.

Sizzle Scissors

  • Growing upright to 2 feet tall and wide with narrow bronze leaves with ruffled pink edges.

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