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Acalypha wilkesiana (Acalypha, copperleaves, Fijian fireplant, beefsteak plant)

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Wild species that have tantalised gardeners in the past are now being improved to create a diverse palette of new varieties that offer all kinds of advantages. In particular, the necessity for water-wise, low maintenance gardens has inspired interest in plants that can be used as ground covers that will not only suppress weeds and erosion but also look fantastic. 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Helpful articles

Stone Gabion fencing and retaining walls. Gabion is a wire basket or wire form, filled with stones and shaped into a fence or retaining wall type structure. Read this article to learn more.

Attracting fauna to your garden. This article explains how you can attract native australian wildlife to your garden.

Native grasses and friends. An exciting thing is happening in the world of Australian plants. Wild species that have tantalised gardeners in the past are now being improved to create a diverse palette of new varieties that offer all kinds of advantages. In particular, the necessity for water-wise, low maintenance gardens has inspired interest in plants that can be used as ground covers that will not only suppress weeds and erosion but also look fantastic.

Australian Native Orchids. Native orchids range from the spectacular epiphytic (growing on trees) and lithophytic (growing on rocks) species of the tropical jungles and warmer areas of Australia, to the intricately subtle terrestrial (growing in the ground) species found throughout the dry eucalypts forests throughout the continent.

Plant description

acalypha1

acalypha2

acalypha3

Acalypha are spreading shrubs grown for their multicoloured foliage and tropical feel. They come in a great range of leaf colours and combination of colours. Despite their lush looks, they are tough and drought tolerant once established, and are very easy care plants in temperate, tropical or subtropical climates, or as house or container plants.

Acalypha does well in sun or part shade. It prefers a fertile moist soil, sheltered from strong winds. It does not tolerate frost. Cutting back once a year keeps the foliage fresh and well coloured, and the plant more compact.

Acalypha are native to Fiji and nearby South Pacific islands. It has been used medicinally in Nigeria.

Further reading: Hedges and Pruning a hedge in 7 steps (articles written by horticulturalist Angus Stewart).

Additional plant information

Flowers

Flower colour: cream
Flowering season: summer autumn

Plant size

Maximum height: 3 metres
Minimum height: 1 metres

Maximum width: 3 metres
Minimum width: 1 metres

Sunlight, frost & salt tolerance

This plant will tolerate full or partial sunlight.
Light frost tolerance.
Plant is salt tolerant.

Fauna attracting?

Not specified.

Climate

This plant species will grow in the following climates: temperate, subtropical, tropical.

Soil types & conditions

Loam: moist, well-drained.

Clay: moist, well-drained.

Sand: wet, well-drained.

Soil pH: 5.5-7

Pests

Mealy bugs, red spider mite, aphids, white fly

Miscellaneous information

Planting season: spring, summer.

Types of fertiliser: Good general purpose.

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