Plants grown for the spring market have changed over the past few years. We use to see just the usual foliage mix.
Now, there isn’t just foliage but color. Color is not limited to only hibiscus tree and bush, but Bougainvillea plant, flowering Mandevilla trellis, yellow flowering Allamanda cathartica, Stephanotis (bridal veil vine), and Clerodendrum.
Clerodendrum (some say Clerodendron) is a wonderful group of plants that has gained immense popularity over the last couple of years for the spring market.
As is the case with many ‘new’ plants, there always seems to be one well-known variety grown. In the case of Clerodendrum, the variety known as the ‘Clerodendrum Bleeding Heart Vine’ or Clerodendrum thomsoniae is the species that fits the bill.
Many of the new introductions have been virtually unknown until growers started producing the bleeding-heart glory bower commercially. There isn’t a tremendous amount of information available on Clerodendrum.
The Clerodendrum comes in a few different forms both vining and bush or small tree types, and a few that can go either way.
Most of them would be considered tropical except for ‘Bungei’ pink. This variety can survive outside throughout the South and up into the northern coastal areas.
Showy flowers and leaf shapes vary greatly from the familiar urn-shape to tight clusters of small florets and small slender leaves to large round ones.
Clerodendrums are not real fussy of the soils that they will grow in but prefer a rich well-drained soil that will hold some water. Clerodendrum care is easy as all varieties grow well with an even balanced fertilizer program and are vigorous growers.
All the growers in south Florida grow their plants in full sun but they will tolerate some shade. If fact, many of the large leaf bush types prefer a woodland setting (shade from high trees.)
Although the variety name ‘Bungei’ will grow in more temperature zones and is a hardier variety; Clerodendrums grow best in a temperature range of 60-85 degrees.
Regular watering is best. Some of the varieties do display some drought tolerance, but for best performance and flower display, water regularly.
For small to large containers these plants are usually trellised. Some are also grown as patio or landscape plants in 1-2 gallon pots.
The variety ‘Shooting Star’ and ‘Ugandense Blue’ make excellent standard trees and you can find ‘Bleeding Heart Vine’ sold as a houseplant.
However, I question how much blooming you’ll be getting indoors. All varieties must be pruned to maintain their shape.
Varieties You Can Expect
All varieties are good year-round bloomers except for ‘Thomsoniae’, which blooms through fall – spring.
All can be grown for 1-3 gallon production. ‘Thomsoniae’, ‘Java Red’ and ‘Ugandense’ will bloom in 6″ or 1-gallon pots. ‘Fragrans’, ‘Mary Jane’, and ‘Bungei’ will outgrow a 3-gallon unless kept pruned.
Here are other varieties:.
Clerodendrum trichotomum (glory tree, peanut butter tree, harlequin glorybower plant) originally comes from Korea, Taiwan, China, Japan and India. This flowering shrub of the verbenaceae or lamiaceae species grows up to 20 feet high. Clerodendron trichotomum is famous for fragrant and beautiful flowers making it a great ornamental plant.
Clerodendrum quadriloculare, a flowering plant native to the Philippines and New Guinea also serve as a natural pest repellent. It’s an easy to grow evergreen shrub. It’s known for its heart-shaped leaf or foliage is also called bronze-leaved clerodendrum, Philippine glorybower, starburst clerodendrum, and shooting star.
Clerodendrum paniculatum, more famous with its common name pagoda flower, is a native plant in tropical regions of Asia and Papuasia.
Clerodendrum speciosissimum is a tropical garden plant native to Indonesia and Papuasia. It can grow up to 4 meters. Its bright red, heart-shaped flowers and square-shaped leaves make them great ornamental plants.
The blue butterfly bush, also called rotheca myricoides or clerodendrum ugandense, is a native to Africa. Growers cultivate this plant for its beautiful flowers, green foliage, hardiness and easy to grow features.
Clerodendrum colebrookianum, also called East Indian Glory Bower, a plant species found in tropical and subtropical areas of Asia. Due to its role in traditional medicine practices, this deciduous shrub became one of the most well-known clerodendrum species that exist. Everything can be used from the leaves, wood, and down to its roots.
Clerodendrum infortunatum (hill glory bower), serve as a great health remedy in siddha medicine and other traditional practices.