1) Copper Leaf Plant — History & General Information:
a) Scientific Name: Acalypha wilkesiana
b) Region of Origin: Native to the South Pacific
c) General History: Pending
d) Plant Uses: In South Florida and tropical America, Copper leaf is a popular outdoor plant that provides color throughout the year. It is used in mixed hedges and shrub borders and as a specimen shrub. Elsewhere copperleaf is grown as an annual where its spectacular foliage replaces flowers from late summer until frost. Copper leaf is also grown indoors as a container plant. However, it must be maintained in a warm, humid, bright environment.
e) As Food: NA
f) As Medicine: Acalypha wilkesiana ointment is used to treat fungal skin diseases. Oyelami et al. carried out a non-comparative study to evaluate the safety and efficiency of Acalypha wilkesiana ointment using 32 Nigerians with mycological as well as clinical evidence of mycoses. The ointment successfully controlled the mycoses in 73.3% of the affected patients.
3) Growing Instructions
a) Growing: To allow for vigorous root growth, soils should be fertile and loose but not allowed to dry out. Mulch can be useful on some soils. Avoid soils that are prone to waterlogging since this can inhibit growth and cause root rot. For this reason kava is often planted on sloping land. Provide shade and protection from the wind. Kava cuttings require moist conditions at the time of planting to develop shoots and roots. The use of sand, timber shavings or compost in the soil can help the soil from becoming too wet.
Copperleaf is suited to USDA Zones 10-11. Although growing best in USDA Zones 10-11, copperleaf seems to have established in Zone 9a in Central Florida. Indoor plants should be kept above 55 °F (13 °C). Copperleaf can also be grown as an annual.
b) Best time to Harvest: N/A
c) Sunlight Requirements: The plant, often called “copperleaf,” does fine in partial shade or sun. It prefers a position sheltered from strong winds, and a fertile, organic soil. Indoor plants do well in medium light, but leaf color develops best on plants kept in bright light.
d) Soil Requirements: Outdoors, copperleaf does best in a rich, moist, but fast-draining soil. Indoor plants do better in a soilless potting mix, with the medium constantly moist, but not saturated. Daily misting is recommended for indoor plants with only spare watering in winter.
- Use loppers cutting stem at an angle,
- Remove the bottom leaves but keep a few of the top baby leaves on,
- Choose the area you are planting to and stick the cut end into the ground at least 2-3 inches,
- Cover base of the plant with a brown paper bag, put soil and a few lava rocks to hold down paper on top and water thoroughly.
f) Controlling Spread: Simply by lopping off branches to control height and spread
g) Difficulties: None known. It’s self-sustaining and easy to grow.
h) History of this Plant at Hedonisia: Pending
i) Location on Property: Gardens A & B