Acalypha wilkesiana

Copperleaf or Calico bush


The Acalypha is the mainstay of so many coastal and sub-tropical gardens in the country. Acalyphas are found in a multitude of different leaf shapes, forms and colours. The golden foliaged hybrids are indispensable in the hot humid regions, creating the perfect foil to set off all the bright and fiery red and orange hues found in the landscape.

Acalypha shrubs grow rapidly up to 3 m tall and should be pruned annually in spring to maintain a well-groomed look. Cultivars to look out for include ‘Java Yellow’, ‘New Dawn’ and ‘Seychelles Sun’. Often planted as boundary hedges, they are equally as effective as contrasting feature shrubs in the shrub border. They are only suitable for frost-free gardens.

The Gardener