Hawaiian Baby Woodrose
Natural Growing Conditions
Hawaiian Baby Woodrose (Argyreia nervosa), not to be confused with the Hawaiian Woodrose (Merremia tuberosa), is a perennial climbing vine, also known as Elephant Creeper and Woolly Morning Glory. Native to the Indian subcontinent and introduced to numerous areas worldwide, including Hawaii, Africa and the Caribbean, it can be invasive, although is often prized for its aesthetic value.
HBWR has a very tough seed coat and nicking aids in germination a lot. This is how I nick them. Take very sharp scissors and make a shallow snip away from the germ eye, just piercing the seed coat. Alternatively you can take a file a file away a bit, again away from the germ eye. Some people recommend pouring boiling water over the freshly nicked seeds, and to let them sit over night, I have found this is not necessary. Plant in free draining soil (HBWR is somewhat susceptible to rot) In any event if the seeds are good germination should occur in less than a week.
HBWR does not like a lot of light when it is young. I put my seedlings in direct light every day until they show some signs of wilting, then take them out. This way the seedlings are getting the maximum amount of sunlight they can handle and soon adapt to it and pump out as much growth as possible. Alternatively you can start them off outside in pots in full sun. This way they will adapt to lots of light very quickly, again take them out of the sun when they show signs of wilting.
Keep soil moist but not wet. As I mentioned they seem to be somewhat vulnerable to rot when they are young. Still make sure to water regularly. If they remain dry to long they will start to wilt and appear to have gotten too much sun. I have lost many plants thinking they where simply getting too much light when all it was was low moisture.
Once well established
HBWR, unlike its close relative Morning Glory, is a very slow grower, and can take up to two years to even reach a foot tall. I feed mine regularly with Peters 20,20,20, which it seems to respond well to. I’m sure any fertilizer will do. Also I recommend worm castings when younger (big fisherman and always have a bunch laying around:)). Whatever you use just make sure to start off with half the recommended strength.
Flowering and seeds
Let me start off by saying…. Good luck with that if you don’t live in a tropical climate. I got a lot of flowers one year which eventually led to a couple seed pods. I hear the most important factor in getting them to flower (which I believe is true about any plant) is enough space for the roots. HBWR gets potbound very easily after its first year or so of growth. You think she’s barely growing but it seems to focus its energy on growing roots. As I said I keep mine in a 20 gallon pot and its still potbound until I move it outside for the season. I can’t think of any practical container that could be used to give its massive root system space, a 55 gallon oil drum perhaps.