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.
- 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.
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.
- Vivid coral-pink foliage randomly blotched with bronze appears lit from within.
- Leaves have blotches of cream, lime, and dark green, yet typically glossy.
- 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.
- Reaches just 1122 feet high and wide.
- Narrow, wavy-edged, weeping leaves to 2 inches long are reddish brown with coral margins.
- 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.
- Reaching 36 feet tall and wide, this is the most familiar form with bronze leaves edged in pink.
- Distinguished by large leaves blotched in bright pink, coral, and bronze.
- To 5 feet tall and about as wide.
- Oval, 4- to 6 inches-long, slightly weeping leaves are chocolate-brown with hot pink edges.
- Growing upright to 2 feet tall and wide with narrow bronze leaves with ruffled pink edges.