Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Acalapha wilkesiana, "Match-me-if-you-can"

Acalapha wilkesiana
The colourful exotic shrubs Acalapha are tropical in origin but will grow in most mild coastal climates and are known for their exceptional drought hardiness and general toughness.Their popularity is practically zero these days as the foliage is seen as too brash or gaudy for most "discerning" (ie timid) gardeners who prefer the safer option of a green Murraya hedge. They remain in the gardens of many a 1960's apartment block looking disagreeable against oxblood brick. Here is hoping some smart landscape designers will see fit to "revive" them and use them in an innovative way. Apart from the broad leaf forms,there are some fine leafed cultivars including 'Candle-Light' with pale lemon foliage and 'Inferno' with its bright orange red tassel like leaves.
Most varieties grow as well rounded shrubs to about 2 metres and make good hedge plants in tough growing conditions with sandy or poor soil.
2017 update: I currently have the variety 'Raggedy Ann' available


  1. Very difficult to get hold of different cultivars, as no-one wants them anymore - despite being great 'filler plants'. We got the various cultivars we have mainly from public gardens & parks, and elderly ladies who still have them around.

    1. I am starting to get a collection together.There are a few nurseries still growing them but I mainly see them when driving past old gardens