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ACALYPHA wilkesiana 'Tahitian Gold'

Image of Acalypha wilkesiana 'Tahitian Gold'

Carol Cloud Bailey

Family

Euphorbiaceae

Botanical Name

ACALYPHA wilkesiana 'Tahitian Gold'

Plant Common Name

Copperleaf, Tahitian Gold Acalypha, Wilkes' Acalypha

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

An evergreen shrub native to the Pacific islands, copperleaf bears brightly colored foliage in shades or red, purple, bronze and green. It is a popular landscape plant in subtropical and tropical zones and planted as a houseplant or annual in cooler zones. The name, Acalypha wilkesiana, honors Rear Admiral Charles Wilkes, an American Naval Officer who explored the South Pacific during the mid-1800s.

Beautiful, mottled leaves are the reason copperleaf is so popular in the garden. They are large, oval to elliptical, and alternate along the stems. The leaf edges are distinctly toothed and sometimes differ in color from the rest of the leaf. Different cultivars have different unique color combinations in shades of red, copper, bronze, purple, white and/or green. Tiny, inconspicuous, reddish flowers are produced in thin, hanging spikes called catkins. They are followed by capsule fruits filled with minuscule hard seeds.

Copperleaf grows well in both full sun or partial shade. The leaves are more brightly colored if plants are given a bit of shade during the hottest part of the day. Indoor specimens should be provided bright, indirect light. Provide in-ground or container-grown plants fertile, slightly acid soil that's well-drained. Though drought tolerant once established, regular applications of water will produce the healthiest, prettiest plants.

A few copperleafs go a long way in the interior or exterior landscape. Their large, strongly colored leaves look gaudy if overused, so it's best to plant them sparingly as focal accents for shrub or mixed borders.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    10 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Shrub

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    8'-15' / 2.4m - 4.6m (10)

  • Width

    6'-10' / 1.8m - 3.0m (6)

  • Bloom Time

    Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Melanesia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    Green, Copper

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Bicolor

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Purple, Pink, Burgundy, Copper

  • Foliage Color (Spring) Modifier

    Variegated, Spotted/Mottled

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Purple, Pink, Burgundy, Copper

  • Foliage Color (Summer) Modifier

    Variegated, Spotted/Mottled

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Purple, Pink, Burgundy, Copper

  • Foliage Color (Fall) Modifier

    Variegated, Spotted/Mottled

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Purple, Pink, Burgundy, Copper

  • Foliage Color (Winter) Modifier

    Variegated, SpottedMottled

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Bedding Plant, Container, Feature Plant, Hanging Basket, Houseplant, Mixed Border, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes