Acalypha wilkesiana
Common Name: Jacob's coat 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Native Range: Pacific Islands
Zone: 10 to 11
Height: 2.00 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 4.00 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: Reddish-pink
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful, Evergreen


Winter hardy to USDA Zone 10. In St. Louis, best grown as annual bedding plants or in containers which can be overwintered indoors. In the ground, grow in moist, average to moderately fertile, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. 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. Container plants may also be overwintered as houseplants as long as they receive intense bright light and soils are kept uniformly moist.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Acalypha wilkesiana is native to Fiji and neighboring South Pacific islands. It is an evergreen, often suckering, tropical shrub or subshrub that may grow to 10-15’ tall and as wide in frost free areas. It is typically grown as an annual in St. Louis where it will grow 2-4’ tall in a single growing season. As the common name suggests, this shrub is grown for its attractive foliage which features shiny, coarsely-toothed, oval to elliptic, bronze-green leaves (5-8” long) that are mottled with red and purple or red and bronze. Insignificant green flowers, sometimes tinged with reddish-pink, appear in slender spikes to 8” long.

Synonymous with A. tricolor.

Genus name comes from the Greek name for nettles because of the nettle-like appearance of the leaves.

Specific epithet honors Admiral Charles Wilkes who explored the South Pacific in the 1800s.


White fly, mealy bugs, spider mites and various caterpillars are occasional visitors. For more information see: Problems Common to Many Indoor Plants


Bedding plant, filler in borders or container plant.