Acalypha indica is a plant in the spurge family. The plant is native to tropical Asia, from India to China. It is a small shrub or herbaceous plant, growing to 0.3–1.5 m tall. The leaves are opposite, 3–8 cm long and 2–6 cm broad. The flowers are borne in axillary spikes, each flower 3–4 mm diameter, with three red or orange petals and three green sepals. The fruit is a schizocarp 3–4 mm long, composed of three carpels.
How to care:
Acalypha indica is a relatively easy plant to care for. It prefers a sunny location and well-drained soil. Water regularly, but allow the soil to dry out between watering. Prune as needed to keep the plant shapely.
Acalypha indica is a member of the spurge family, which contains a number of plants with medicinal properties. The leaves of Acalypha indica are used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including stomachache, diarrhea, and dysentery. Indian nettle contains a number of medically active ingredients including an essential oil, resin, tannins and alkaloid. It was formerly listed in the British Pharmacopoeia.
It has numerous medicinal uses in India and is listed in the Pharmacopoeia of India as an expectorant to treat asthma and pneumonia.
It also has significant antibacterial and anti fungal activities, both against human and plant pathogens, and it would be worthwhile continuing research to isolate the active compounds.
Fertilize Acalypha indica monthly with a balanced fertilizer. Fertilize monthly with a balanced fertilizer.
Acalypha indica can be propagated by seed or cuttings.
Sow seed in a well-drained, sterile potting mix at 21-24°C. Cover with a thin layer of sand or vermiculite. Keep moist and provide good ventilation to prevent fungal diseases. Seedlings will emerge in 14-21 days.
Take stem cuttings in late spring or early summer. Cuttings should be taken from new growth, about 10 cm long. Remove the lower leaves and dip the cut end in rooting hormone. Plant in a well-drained, sterile potting mix and keep moist. Cuttings should root in 4-8 weeks.
Pest and Disease:
Acalypha indica is relatively pest and disease free. Watch for mealybugs, scale, and spider mites. Powdery mildew can be a problem in humid conditions.
Acalypha indica is an attractive plant that can be used in landscaping as a groundcover, edging plant, or in containers.