The Q&A Archives: Name Of Plant

Question: Growing up in Texas, we often planted what were commonly called "copper plants" in sunny places. These plants had rust colored leaves and would grow several feet high in the summer. No one knows what they are in California. Can you tell me the proper name for them?

Answer: The problem with common names is that they are often regional and mean different things to different people. However, I believe the plant is Acalypha wilkesiana (sometimes called Acalypha tricolor). The leaves of this plant grow to 8" long, in color combinations including bronzy green mottled with red and purple; red with crimson and bronze; and green edged with crimson and stippled with orange and red. Color variations can occur, depending upon sun exposure. In a warm, sheltered spot it can grow as a shrub to 6' or taller and nearly as wide. Hope this is the plant you're looking for!

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