How To Care For Clerodendrum Glory Bower Plants

Clerodendrum thomsoniae, also known as “Bleeding-Heart Vine,” is a twining tropical perennial that originated in West Africa. 

It is often listed as C. thomsoniae and is sometimes considered a member of the mint (Lamiaceae) family of plants and sometimes considered a member of the Verbena (Verbenaceae) family of plants. 

Clerodendrum thomsoniae bloomsPin

To add to the confusion, this beautiful plant also shares the common name, Bleeding Heart, with Dicentra spectabilis, which is of no relation.

Other common names include:

  • Tropical Bleeding Heart
  • Bleeding Glory Bower
  • Bleeding Heart Vines
  • Glory Bower
  • Glory Tree
  • Bag Flower 

The plant’s botanical name, Clerodendrum thomsoniae, is a combination of the Greek words “kleros,” which means “chance,” and dendron, which means “tree.” 

It’s followed by the specific epithet honoring Dr. William Cooper Thomson, who ran the Calcutta Botanic Gardens in the mid-1800s. 

Glory Bower Clerodendrum Thomsoniae Care

Clerodendrum thomsoniae is an easy-to-grow tropical plant and requires minimal maintenance if grown under proper conditions.

Here are the various tips you need to consider when growing this plant at home.

Size and Growth

Bag Flower has a trailing, climbing growth habit, yet it is also quite bushy thanks to an abundance of large, thick, glossy green, ovate leaves.

In the wild, the plant grows to be 10’ or 15’ feet tall. It will top out at about 6’ feet high when kept as a container plant.

You can train this perennial vine to climb a trellis or keep it pinched and pruned to create a lush bush. Kept in a hanging basket, the plant trails prettily.

Flowering and Fragrance

Bleeding Heart Vines have lovely flowers that present a heart-shaped calyx that seems to be marked by a bright red blood spot. This is the corolla of the flower.

The long-lasting blooms grow in clusters of as few as eight or as many as twenty. Over a period of several months, they transition from white blooms to lavender or pale pink.

There are cultivars of Clerodendrum that produce interesting variations of the flowers. For example, Delectum has impressively large clusters of pale red or pink blooms.

This plant will bloom year-round in a tropical climate, producing the most beautiful flowers in spring, but its general bloom period is summer.

Foliage

Bleeding-Heart Glory Bower produces masses of deep green, glossy oval leaves that can be up to seven inches long. They are smooth-edged with pointy tips.

The Variegated cultivar has thick, green leaves with cream-colored edging.

Light and Temperature

Tropical Bleeding Heart grows well in full sun and partial shade locations. It is hardy to USDA hardiness zone 9; however, it needs to be in a tropical setting, completely protected against freezing, to do its best.

 For best results, grow your Bleeding Heart in a container outdoors during the warm months of the spring and summer. 

This heart shrub plant will also thrive in warm temperatures in summer as it’s a tropical plant. However, bring it indoors when the minimum temperatures fall lower than 45º degrees Fahrenheit. 

This evergreen shrub needs bright light and consistent warmth to produce abundant beautiful blooms. Outdoors, choose a setting that provides full sun exposure and protection against harsh winds and sudden temperature drops. 

Indoors, place your plant near a sunny southern window or supplement lighting with grow lights. Daytime temperatures during the winter months should be consistently 60° to 65° degrees Fahrenheit with a drop of 5° or 10° degrees Fahrenheit at night.

Expect your plant to drop some leaves during the winter months. This is normal. Plants kept outdoors in USDA hardiness zone 9 will drop all their leaves but will grow back in the springtime.

Watering and Feeding

Glory Bower is a hungry, thirsty plant that requires regular watering and feeding throughout the growing season (spring and summer). 

If you notice the soil is dried out, it’s time to water the vining plant. It typically needs at least 1″ inch of water per week. Also, it’s important to note that a fully grown Glory bower vine can drink up to 3 gallons of water every week.

Moreover, keep the soil moist and fertilize monthly with good quality, water-soluble or liquid fertilizer. Another fertilizer option is the apply a balanced fertilizer in the spring when growth begins and again during the summer. 

However, stop fertilizing in the autumn (even if you bring your plant indoors). During the fall and winter, just water enough to prevent the soil from drying out.

Soil and Transplanting

Bleeding Glory Bower thrives in fertile, humus-rich, well-drained soil, so ensure it’s not grown in soggy soil. This plant can also tolerate various soil types, like loamy or sandy soil, as long as it’s amended with organic material.

It will also do well with any good quality, well-draining potting soil amended with ample amounts of organic matter. You want a mixture that delivers a good amount of nutrients and retains the right amount of moisture to nourish the plant.

Repot your plant annually, early in the springtime. Even if you do not change the pot, the plant will need a new, fresh, light potting medium.

When planting in the landscape in a semi-tropical or tropical setting, choose a slightly elevated location, well-draining and sheltered against harsh winds.

Remember that this plant needs a minimum of six hours of sun daily. Full morning sun is best in locations that receive very harsh afternoon sun.

Grooming and Maintenance

In the fall, your plant will produce fewer lovely flowers. When this happens, you should prune it back and thin overcrowded shoots.

You can prune very severely at this time. Doing so will help your plant save energy through the winter.

In the springtime, when your plant begins to produce new growth, prune it lightly to shape it and prepare it for the springtime.

 These plants bloom on new growth, so pruning it in a way that encourages bushier growth will also encourage more beautiful blooms.

How To Propagate Glory Bower Clerodendrum Thomsoniae

You can grow this plant from seeds in the springtime, but it is much easier to propagate Bleeding Heart with cuttings.

Late in the summertime or early in the springtime (when you do your normal pruning), take tip cuttings about 6″ inches long and just below a leaf node or where the leaves join the stem.

Remember to remove lower leaves and keep a few top leaves. You can place the cuttings in water or moist sand.

Place them in a warm, sheltered area with bright, indirect sunlight. Expect to see roots in a couple of weeks.

Other Clerodendrums To Grow

Glory Bower Main Pest or Diseases

When well cared for, Bag Flower is a fairly pest and disease free plant. If overwatered, overcrowded, or allowed to grow rampant without proper pruning, it is subject to common houseplant problems, such as root rot, mealybugs, and spider mites.

Is The Plant Considered Toxic Or Poisonous To People, Kids, Or Pets?

Clerodendrum thomsoniae is a non-toxic plant.

Is The Plant Considered Invasive?

Even though these plants are robust and enthusiastic growers, they do not have invasive tendencies.

Suggested Glory Bower Clerodendrum Thomsoniae Uses

In a truly tropical setting, Tropical Bleeding Heart can be planted in the landscape and trained to grow up trellises, tumble over walls and climb over canopies.

In most settings, the plant makes an excellent large, dramatic container plant. It is also a good choice as a hanging basket plant.

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