Acalypha Species, Lance Copperleaf, Jacob's Coat, Fire-Dragon, Match-Me-If-You-Can, Irish Petticoat

Acalypha wilkesiana

Family: Euphorbiaceae (yoo-for-bee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Acalypha (ak-uh-LY-fuh) (Info)
Species: wilkesiana (wilk-see-AY-nuh) (Info)
Synonym:Acalypha compacta
Synonym:Acalypha godseffiana
Synonym:Acalypha hamiltoniana
Synonym:Acalypha macafeeana
Synonym:Acalypha musaica


Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade





Foliage Color:




White/near White




36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers


All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:



Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From herbaceous stem cuttings

Seed Collecting:

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

, (3 reports)

Vincent, Alabama

Encinitas, California

San Diego, California

Vista, California

Bartow, Florida

Big Pine Key, Florida

Cocoa, Florida

Daytona Beach, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida (2 reports)

Hollywood, Florida

Indialantic, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida (2 reports)

Keystone Heights, Florida

Lake Panasoffkee, Florida

Melbourne, Florida (2 reports)

Miami, Florida

Miami Beach, Florida

Oakland, Florida

Odessa, Florida

Oldsmar, Florida

Orlando, Florida (3 reports)

Palm Harbor, Florida

Port Charlotte, Florida (2 reports)

Saint Petersburg, Florida

Sebastian, Florida

Titusville, Florida

Umatilla, Florida

Vero Beach, Florida

Wellborn, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida

Divernon, Illinois

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Charleston, South Carolina

Hendersonville, Tennessee

Anahuac, Texas

Harlingen, Texas

Houston, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Nov 26, 2015, southeastgarden from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I have grown several cultivars of this plant outdoors for several years in Jacksonville, Florida, zone 9a. They remain evergreen when winter temperatures dropped into the mid-20's F and about half of my plants have survived dips into the upper teens F. They die back to the ground when temperatures drop below 25 degrees F but resprout in spring. I have begun using them extensively in the landscape and a die-back shrub.


On Sep 10, 2011, hortims from Sacramento, CA wrote:

Started growing this plant this year, and I love it! In Sacramento shade is a must, morning(cool) sun is good too.. I am growing them in containers and I do keep them moist. They respond well to fertilizer and cuttings are like coleus, pretty easy. I really enjoy the foliage and plan on bringing them indoors for the winter.


On Aug 24, 2009, zak1962 from Pittsburgh, PA wrote:

I've used this plant as an annual here in Pittsburgh, PA (zone 6a) for several years now. This year I coupled it with my Acapulco Salmon & Pink Agastache to great effect. If you enjoy plantings that are tonal in nature, this is a perfect pairing! I've included a picture to the right to demonstrate just how beautifully they work together.


On Nov 17, 2008, peggy53wahoo from Asheville, NC wrote:

I overwinter cuttings inside because this is one of my favorite summer container plants -- it plays well and dramatically with just about anything and unlike coleus and perilla, it does not "fade" or get leggy (easily pinched to control height) in the autumn. Just love it! Very nice with cigar plant (cuphea), calico ivy, purple angelonia and asparagus fern.


On Jul 19, 2006, crowellli from Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I have several of these and love them. They don't have any pest or disease problems and can take sun or shade. The tops get a bit singed in a freeze, but I trim them back and they've come back bigger each year for three years. They do tend to require daily watering until new plants get the roots established, but after that they are very tolerant of high heat and humidity.


On Oct 29, 2005, jmorth from Divernon, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

It only grows successfully in the garden during the summer, otherwise, it is on houseplant status


On Mar 25, 2005, artcons from Fort Lauderdale, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

Here in S Florida I have seen these 15' or better. In my yard I have several of each (general) color which I keep at about 8'. Great for use in hiding an ugly section of yard you don't want seen. I have had leaves to 15" in length and 10-12 inches in width. I also have one that is both green and red/maroon. This one is in full sun. I have several in shade and they still do well, not as tall as in the ones in the sun. If you are looking for spectacular showy plant with great color, these have it.


On Oct 25, 2003, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

San Antonio, Tx.
The copper leaf is a plant that adds interesting color wherever it has been planted. The variations of the foliage color provides interest. The leaves turn more coppery the more sun they receive. In filtered or partial shade, the leaves have more purple, mauve, and pink tones. The blooms when drying hang down looking like yarn in the late summer and fall. An easy to grow, carefree plant that has provided me much enjoyment through the years.


On Sep 14, 2003, suncatcheracres from Old Town, FL wrote:

I grew this plant in St. Petersburg, Florida (zone 9b) for almost ten years. It is easy from cuttings. I had it in a very sunny spot, but it was partially shaded by 10-15' tall Dwarf Brazilian bananas and papayas.

I also had various colored cannas and zebra plants in that bed, so it was all very tropical looking. Everything froze down during harsh winters, but I had every thing well mulched, so they all came back by mid-Spring.


On Aug 26, 2002, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Best foliage color in full sun. Soils must be kept consistently moist. If soils dry out, rapid leaf drop usually occurs. Stems may be pinched to control size and shape and to promote bushiness. Take tip cuttings in late summer to overwinter.