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Botanical Name: Acalypha wilkesiana
Common Name(s): Copper-leaf / Fijian fire bush
Categories: Shrubs and Perennials
Fast growing, and suitable for tropical climates. Attractive foliage in shades of red, copper, maroon, yellow and pink, but the flowers are inconspicuous. Neglected plants can be susceptible to mealy bug and red spider mite.
Botanical Pronunciation: ack-uh-LIFE-uh wilk-see-AY-nuh
Semi Frost Hardy
Planting: Does best in well-drained, loamy soil. Dig a hole 60cm square and deep. Mix two thirds of the topsoil with one third compost in the bottom of the hole, add one cup of bone meal or superphosphate and mix well.
Watering and feeding: Water regularly throughout the year. Feed a general fertiliser in spring and midsummer, after pruning.
Pruning: Needs pruning twice a year, in midsummer and early spring, to keep the plant bushy.
There are over 200 species of copper-leaf (also known as Jacob’s coat). ‘Blushing Thai’ has small bronze-red leaves with a pink edge, which turn to a soft luminous pink. ‘Java Yellow’ is large, with green, yellow, cream and white variegated foliage. ‘Pink Sport’ is outstanding, with variegated foliage in shades of pink and maroon. ‘Tropica’ has curly, brick-red leaves in shades of carmine and pale green, splashed with olive-green.
1.5 m * 1.5 m
Uses in landscape design
Excellent for colour contrast in a mixed border. Makes an ideal hedge at the coast.