Acalypha ‘Jungle Cloak’

01.JungleCloak00Acalyphas are fast-growing tropical shrubs that we treat as annuals. Popular in outdoor landscapes, showpiece containers and as summer patio plants, they sport foliage that is known to be pretty wild. Hort Couture has released the wildest one we’ve seen called ‘Jungle Cloak’—its signature feature is the distinctive tri-color variegation on the leaves. Furthermore, the variegation is all over the map so every leaf is different.

As you will recall from our earlier newsletters, we consider foliage color to be extremely important to the landscape or retail designer. The first and foremost advantage is a long lasting season-of-interest. Foliage plants stay in season from spring through summer and into the fall because their color display is in the leaves. This makes maintenance a snap as well, because leaves never need to be deadheaded.


Traditionally, foliage plants have been used in a background role—setting up the canvas for more dramatic plants or just laying down an attractive carpet to cover up some ugly ground underneath. Now we know that some unique foliage color can be dramatic enough to take center stage, and ‘Jungle Cloak’ fits into that category.

For example, the leaves on ‘Jungle Cloak’ are wild and fanciful enough to snip some leaf-bearing twigs and place them in a tall, showy vase as an avant-garde floral arrangement. It will last quite a while, too.


To get the best colors out of ‘Jungle Cloak’ the trick is to plant it in full sun. Yes, it will thrive in partial shade but it will lose much of its color if it doesn’t get enough light. You will notice that the side that gets more sun will have the most color.

Size-wise, we are looking at a plant that grows two to four feet in height, depending on how generously it is watered. The spread is much wider, growing in a low, shrubby way to about four to five feet in diameter. It could be considered a low, hedgy kind of groundcover.


For a tropical shrub, ‘Jungle Cloak’ surprisingly tolerates the nippy nights in autumn. It can handle evening temperatures in the low 40s without a problem, which extends its usable season almost to the killing frost.

In addition to ‘Jungle Cloak’ we also sell two other kinds of Acalyphas. ‘Copperhead’ is probably the most famous—it is known for its deep bronze and red leaves. We’ve been growing this one for several years.

The other Acalypha we are adding to our Tropical program is ‘Tahiti’, a green-and-yellow variation on the theme. Leaves on this variety are more ruffled and twistier than the other cultivars and the twig tips look more floral-like. Choose this variety when you want the Acalypha features in a more subdued package.

We sell our Acalyphas in 12cm pots (trays of 8), and we generally ship the plants in early May.