Scientifically known as Argyreia nervosa, the plant is an evergreen creeper vine native to the Indian Subcontinent. It belongs to the family Convolvulaceae. IT is called as Elephant Creeper because of the large leaves that look like elephant ears. It is grown worldwide for both aesthetic and medicinal value.
Elephant creeper is easy to care for once established. It grows fast and does not require extra attention. You might need to prune the plant occasionally to control its size.
The plant prefers full sun. Grow it in an area where it will receive abundant sunlight throughout the day. Unlike most houseplants, the plant can grow in direct sunlight too but if you see scorching of leaves then it's better to move it to a sheltered area.
The plant has the light green heart to oval-shaped leaves which are hairy on the underside. The flower colour varies from pale pink to dark pink and violet generally with a darker centre. The pod is small brown dry capsule surrounded by a calyx divided into five sections and resembles a carved rose, hence the name wood rose. The seeds contain LSA which is a mild hallucinogen.
Water it regularly to maintain the fresh look of the plant. Don't over water the plant as that may lead to root rot and other fungal diseases. The plant does not do well in wet conditions.
A well-drained, fertile, moist soil should be used. Soil should be a water retentive but not boggy. Use a layer of mulch to help maintain the moisture. The plant has a large root system so you might need to re-pot is if growing in a container.
It's a climber which can grow up to 8m to 15m. They need about 15 cm to 20 cm of surround space.
The plant is not a big feeder. For better blooms, you can use a balanced liquid fertilizer.
The plant is generally not affected by pests or diseases.
Almost all parts of the plant have medicinal properties. The decoction of the root is used to promote the flow of urine, relieve gonorrhoea and treatment of chronic ulcers. Crushed leaves can be applied over wounds and skin diseases. Powdered root is given with milk to treat synovities and syphilis.
You can use it just an ornamental plant too with its beautiful foliage and fluorescence. You grow it near a window to create that dramatic climbing vine effect.