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Common Name:

Copper Plant

Scientific Name:

Acalypha wilkesiana

Family Name:



Subtropical or tropical shrub often used as a summer annual. Copper Plant is typically grown for its vibrantly variegated foliage. Variegation ranges from combinations of red, yellow, copper, and maroon to green and white combinations. The bold coarse textured foliage lends a tropical flare.

Plant Habit or Use:

Warm season annual, perennial, small shrub, medium shrub, tropical, interiorscape


sun, partial sun, shade

Flower Color:

Red-green or green, not ornamental, catkin-like spike

Blooming Period:

Spring, summer, fall

Fruit Characteristics:

Not ornamental, can look ratty


3 ft to 5 ft, larger in tropics


3 ft to 4 ft

Earth–Kind® Index:

  • Heat Tolerance: High Heat Tolerance
  • Water Requirements: Medium Water Use
  • Soil Requirements: Medium Soil Requirements
  • Pest Tolerance: Low Pest Resistance
  • Fertility Requirements: Medium Fertility Requirements
Explanation of the Earth–Kind® Index breakdown

Firewise Index

Explanation of the Firewise Index numerical value

USDA Hardiness Zones:

9, 10, 11

Regions that intersect these hardiness zones:
Region E - Upper Rio Grande Region F - Hill Country and Central Coast Region G - Southeast Texas Region H - Rio Grande Valley
Click image for enlarged map of USDA Hardiness Zones

Additional Comments:

Very desirable foliage that is seldom troubled by insects or disease; white fly and aphids occasionally. Avoid poorly drained soils. Growth form is more open in dense shade.
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A Special Note about Cool Season Annuals

Cool season annuals typically are planted in the fall or early winter and flower in early spring under moderate temperatures. This group of plant materials includes: pansies, snapdragons, violas, dianthus, flowering cabbage/kale, etc. Because cool season annuals flower in the spring when conditions are mild, most have limited heat tolerance.

As a result cool season annuals do not receive a high Earth–Kind® index despite their outstanding landscape qualities.