Sunday, July 08, 2007

Color your garden with the copperleaf plant

The copperleaf plant (Acalypha wilkesiana) has foliage that is more colorful than many flowers, thats why in South Florida and tropical America, copperleaf is a popular outdoor plant that provides color throughout the year.

Copperleaf foliage varies in color and pattern from variety to variety and even on the same individual for that matter but is always bright and beautiful.

This plant is grown as an annual where it's spectacular foliage replaces flowers from late summer until frost. It's also used in mixed hedges and shrub borders and as a specimen shrub and grown indoors as a container plant. However, it must be maintained in a warm, humid, bright environment. Cut off the tips of growing shoots to get a bushier plant.

Copperleaf does fine in partial shade or sun. It prefers a position sheltered from strong winds, and a fertile, organic soil. Under ideal, frostfree conditions copperleaf grows as a spreading evergreen shrub with upright branches that tend to originate near the base.

This plant is native to Fiji and nearby islands in the South Pacific. It can get up to 10 ft (3.1 m) tall with a similar spread. The leaves are alternate, elliptic to oval, serrate, 5-8 in (12.7-20.3 m) long and multi-colored. The flowers are small and inconspicuous, hanging in 4-8 in (10.2-20.3 cm) catkinlike racemes usually hidden in the foliage.

Information taken from Floridata.com

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