Copper Leaf

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Copper Leaf

Acalypha L.

  • ​Common name: Copperleaf, three-seeded mercury
  • Scientific name: Acalypha
  • Family name: Euphorbiaceae
  • Origin: Varies between species, but usually the Americas or Africa
  • Height: Varies between species – smaller species may be 1-3 ft tall, while larger ones may be 5-12 ft tall
  • Width: Varies between species – smaller species may be 1-2 ft wide, while larger ones may be 3-6 ft wide
  • Growth: Varies between species, but is usually fast
  • Zone: Usually 9b-11
  • Light needs: Full sun to Part sun
  • Salt tolerance: Moderate to low
  • Soil/pH/Texture: Tolerates a range of soil types as long as it is well-drained. Prefers acidic to alkaline pH (pH 6.0-8.0)
  • Moisture: Should be watered regularly until established, then only watered when the soil becomes dry.
  • Drought tolerance: Moderate
  • Pests/Diseases: Mealybugs and aphids
  • Growing conditions: Exact needs vary between each species. Most species prefer moist, well-drained soil and full sun, with warm, humid conditions. Most Acalypha species are fast growing, so if grown in a container, they will need to be re-potted often as they grow; plants grown in the ground should be given plenty of room to grow depending on their size at maturity. Many species need regular trimming to control their growth.
  • Characteristics: Characteristics vary between species, but as a rule of thumb, the leaves are all alternately arranged and undivided, and most have some sort of hair. Plants may be monoecious or dioecious (individual male and female plants). Flowers vary between species, but most are densely flowered and grow on a bract. Foliage color varies – some species have entirely green leaves, while other species may have green, red, or whitish leaves, or a combination of those colors.
  • Propagation: By cuttings or by seeds
  • Wildlife: May provide ground cover for small animals, or nectar sources for pollinators.
  • Facts: The name “Acalypha” comes from the Greek word for “nettle”. Acalypha hispida is one of the most popular species in the genus for its fuzzy, red, and trailing flowers.
  • Designer considerations: Brightly colored, smaller varieties may be used ad ground cover or for mass plantings. Larger varieties such as A. hispida are more often used as specimen plantings, as hedges, or as windbreak.