En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Pruning Copper Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - February 06, 2013

From: Missouri City, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pruning
Title: Pruning Copper Plants
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I planted two beautiful copper plants in my front beds. They went wild during the fall, but got so leggy that I cut them back nearly to the ground, which I believe was a mistake. Will they come back or do I need to find new ones?

ANSWER:

There are several native plants in the Acalypha genus that have copper in their common names and could be the shrub that you are describing in your front beds.  A few examples are Acalypha phleoides (shrubby copperleaf), Acalypha ostryifolia (hop-hornbeam copperleaf), and Acalypha californica (California copperleaf).  Also, a non-native in the same genus is Acalypha wilkesiana which is also called copper plant or copperleaf.

If it is Acalypha wilkesiana (copper plants, copperleaf) in your garden it is a little out of our line. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, is committed to the growth, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown.

Acalypha generally though are tolerant of heavy pruning, although if they are quite woody they might sit and sulk for a while before they decide to send out some new growth. In any case, pruning your shrub back hard will theoretically encourage the plant to have denser, less spindly growth. Have patience with yours to see if it will send up some new shoots within the next several months before you head to get replacements.

 

From the Image Gallery


Shrubby copperleaf
Acalypha phleoides

Pineland threeseed mercury
Acalypha ostryifolia

California copperleaf
Acalypha californica

More Pruning Questions

Care of Spanish Dagger (Yucca treculeana) after blooming
May 27, 2007 - I live in Austin and have a 5 ft spanish dagger in my backyard. Now that it has bloomed and the flowers have withered in May, should I cut off the center stalk or will it bloom again from the same st...
view the full question and answer

Time to trim oak trees in Austin
October 29, 2011 - We have several large oak trees in desperate need of a good trimming. Given that the trees have had a very stressful drought year, when would be the best time to trim them?
view the full question and answer

Existing live oak taking over in Monahans TX
March 22, 2011 - I have just purchased a home with a huge Live Oak tree in the front yard. The previous owners have over the years allowed the sucker roots to grow unchecked. The tree is shading most of the lawn (di...
view the full question and answer

Wound from non-native date palm thorn Naples FL
November 12, 2012 - Was trimming my pygmy date palm when a frond fell and a thorn pierced my rubber gloves and stuck me in the web of skin between my thumb and forefinger. Did not see a broken thorn but area where struc...
view the full question and answer

Removal of yaupon stumps in Midland TX
March 31, 2010 - How is the best way to remove Yaupon tree stumps? We have 4 of them.
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center