Growing Copperleaf Plants (Acalypha wilkesiana)

Copperleaf is a wild-looking plant that has unique foliage. This is a tropical plant, but the shrub has leaves that are copper, pink, green, yellow, and cream. This plant can easily grow to be 10 feet tall with a width of up to eight feet. This is one of the most stunning shrubs that you can grow in the country, and it is relatively simple to care for. To make sure that you have all of the tools that you need for a copperleaf to thrive in your garden, this guide is full of tips that you will find useful when you are growing the plant.

Water Requirements

This is a plant that needs to be watered regularly so that the soil and the roots do not become dry. If it does not rain for days and the ground becomes dry, this plant is drought-tolerant, so it will not die. However, it does need regular watering to thrive. The copperleaf is also a plant that prefers to grow in a humid climate, so you will be able to create humidity for plants that are growing indoors by misting the leaves occasionally.

Light and Temperature Requirements

The copperleaf is a shrub that grows best in full- sun conditions, but it can handle a little bit of shade throughout the day. The shade is important when the plant is growing outdoors, especially during the hottest part of the day. The more shade the plant has to grow, the less colorful and vibrant the leaves will be.

When it comes to the temperature that the plant can grow in, it can range a bit, but overall, it needs to grow in temperatures that are above 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures that fall below this level will likely reduce the number of colors that the leaves have when they grow.

Soil and Fertilizer Requirements

Moist, well-draining soil is going to be the best option for growing this plant. It will grow in most kinds of soil, but it is a plant that prefers to grow in soil that has a pH that is around 9.1 or so. If you cannot use soil that has this amount of acidity and nutrients, you can use fertilizer in combination with the soil to create ground that is more fertile. You will only need about eight inches of this organic soil for the plant to grow without an issue.

Otherwise, the copperleaf plant can be feed fertilizer that is slow to release into the soil. This should be given to the plant three to four times a year. It should be given to the plant in every season except for winter when the weather is too cold for the plant to grow properly. If the plant is kept in a warm area, it can also be given fertilizer during the winter if you’d like.

Pruning and Propagating Copperleaf

This is a plant that will need to be pruned from time to time. You will need to control the size of the shrub so that it does not grow wildly out of control. This also will allow you to inspect the plant and remove damaged or diseased branches before they can spread to other parts of the plant.

Copperleaf is a plant that is often propagated using a stem cutting from the plant. This occurs during the spring of the year. You will take a cutting that is three to four inches long, dip it in rooting powder, and then plant it in a combination of peat moss and sand. Cover the cutting with a bag and keep it at a temperature of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. When new growth appears, remove the bag and transplant the new plant.

Pests and Diseases

There are not a lot of issues that you should be concerned about when you care for copperleaf, but there are some.

  • Red spider mites can make the leaves pale and sticky.
  • Mealybugs can cause white webbing on the leaves.
  • Dry air can cause the leaves to drop.
  • Too little light can cause the color of the leaves to fade.