Copper plant is an annual plant grown for its vibrant foliage in gardens and landscapes. Also referred to as copperleaf, its outstanding color varieties add a splash of constant accent color that works beautifully into backgrounds and in containers. This shrub grows quickly to its full formed size of about 3 to 5 feet. Its spiky flowers pale in comparison to the beauty and color of the leaves of the copper plant, so plan on enjoying this one simply for its leaves.
Copper plant is a native plant to the Pacific Islands where it grows as a perennial. Here in the U.S. Department of Agriculture Hardiness Zones 9 to 11, it may grow as a spreading evergreen perennial as well. For the rest of us, we can enjoy this plant for the summer as an annual addition to our yards. You might consider a copper plant as a houseplant too.
How to Grow and Care for Copper Plant
Copper plant is a plant you can plan on babying a bit. When you consider where to plant your copper plant, choose a location that is protected from the wind. And wait until after the first frost before you attempt move your copper plant outdoors. Your copper plant prefers temperatures above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. So, in cool climates, make sure your nighttime temperatures are warming up, too.
Your copper plant will develop the most vivid color in full sun. It will enjoy part shade too, especially in hot and dry climates.
To grow your own copper plant, take a stem cutting from an accessible plant. If it isn’t your own plant, make sure you get permission first! If you don’t know of any copper plants that you can collect a few stems from, you will most likely find a variety at your local nursery that will be suited to your region.
Plant your copper leaf in organically rich soil that has been amended with compost. Copper plant fast growing heavy feeder, so it will grow best with good soil from the start. Allow each plant a 3 foot area to grow and fill into. This plant needs plenty of elbow room to grow healthy and well.
Copper plant loves water. Its ground should be constantly moist. In dry regions, or for indoor copper plants, you should mist your plant daily to support its inclination towards humidity.
Fertilize your copper plant with a regular granular fertilizer in the spring, summer and early fall. And occasionally trim back the tips of some of the branches for a fuller, bushy shape.
Copper Plant Pests and Problems
Copper plants love damp conditions that snails and slugs love too. You may have to battle these slimy little pests to keep your copper plant healthy. Beer traps near the base of your plants will attract snails and slugs away from the foliage.
If your copper plant becomes home to a whitefly population, attract them away from your plant with yellow or blue tape sticky traps. You can also spray your leaves with soapy water. You may have to be diligent with this method. Whiteflies are not easily averted, so use patience and be persistent.
Mealybugs and spidermites may come to enjoy your houseplants. These unwelcome guests can often be thwarted with a squirt of water. A spray bottle filled with dishwashing soap and water may help to fight off these tiny enemies. Or try wiping off the insects or the eggs with cotton ball soaked with rubbing alcohol.
Copper Plant Varieties to Consider
‘Tricolor’ is a showy new variety of copper plant. Its foliage is a showstopper in yellow, green and red.
‘Marginata’ has beautiful deep green and copper leaves outlined in pink. Simply beautiful!
Want to learn more about growing copper plant?
Creative Commons Flickr photo courtesy of Christopher Sessums