and other Acalypha species
Common Names: Fijian fire plant, copperleaf
Grown for their colourful foliage, these shrubs come in an amazing range of leaf colours and shapes. Often seen surviving in old gardens in Queensland, which indicates how tough and drought-tolerant they can be, but suitable for modern landscapes because of their sustained, vibrant colour.
Many varieties with foliage colour in a range of cream, pink, burgundy and copper tones. Choose a colour to suit tropical or more traditional garden schemes. 'Musaica' (synonym 'Tricolor') has pink foliage that would compliment other pastel colours.
Older varieties grow up to approx 3m (eventually) but readily controlled by pruning. Varieties 'Inferno" and 'Firestorm' are more compact forms popular in commercial landscapes.
Use as background shrubs or informal hedges. Dwarf types can be used en masse as large groundcovers or if controlled by hard pruning could be mixed with flowers for year-round colour. The coloured leaves mean that even small plants will make a contribution to the display from day one.
Cut back once a year in spring (just before summer growth commences) to keep to desired size and bushiness. Otherwise, acalyphas are very easy to look after.
While the flowers of A. wilkesiana have insignificant flowers, there are other species in the genus such as Acalypha hispida which are grown promarily for their showy inflorescences. You may have difficulty finding some of these in the marketplace in Australia.
Where to buy Acalyphas
Acalypha wilkesiana varieties in a range of leaf colours and shapes are generally available in Queensland garden centres.
While the grouncover A.reptans is sometimes available in garden centres, unfortunately, the editor doesn't know of any commercial outlets of the large cat's tail-type Acalypha hispida. If you operate a nursery supplying these plants in Australia, perhaps you can get in touch? For native Acalypha species, try a native plant nursery.
Some Acalypha Varieties
Click for larger images.
Acalypha 'Inferno' (='Brownie')
Acalypha 'Inferno' has a tendency revert to 'Compacta', which has a larger leaf.
Acalypha 'Java White'
Acalypha 'Chantrieri' as a reversion/sport of 'Godseffiana'
More Acalyphas in the Landscape
More information and ideas for using Acalypha coming to this page in future updates. If you're responsible for promoting new Acalypha varieties in Queensland, please please get in touch about advertising your plant on this page.
Possible Misspellings: Acalipha, Acalypher