Clerodendrum speciosissimum (kler-oh-DEN-drum spee-kee-oh-SIS-ee-mum) hails from the low mountain forest clearings of the Indonesian island of Java. It is a member of the plant family Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee).
The plants’ genus name, Clerodendrum, is derived from Latin and is a combination of klêros, which means “chance” or “lot”, and déndron, which means “tree”.
It is thought that this is a reference to the medicinal and sometimes poisonous uses of the plant.
The plants’ specific epithet, speciosissimum, means “most showy”. This is clearly a reference to the plants’ attractive flowers.
You may also hear this tropical, tender perennial called by the common name of:
- Flaming Glory Bower
- Java Glory Bower
- Pagoda Flower
- Giant Salvia
- Glory Bower
The vigorously growing tropical evergreen Flaming Glorybower shrub presents large, bright panicles of orange-red flowers against a backdrop of velvety, heart-shaped leaves.
The plant may grow to be 12’ feet high in its natural setting. It also is known by the synonym Clerodendrum fallax.
Clerodendrum Speciosissimum Care
Size & Growth
Away from its native setting, Flaming Glory Bower typically grows to a height between 4’ and 6’ feet tall. Plants should be spaced between 8’ and 10’ feet apart.
The attractive evergreen leaves are heart-shaped and lightly furred.
Clerodendron Flower & Fragrance
Java Glory Bower presents abundant panicles of orange red flowers from late in the springtime through mid summer. These plants may bloom a second time providing color through the early autumn.
Light & Temperature
This shrub likes a consistently warm setting and are only winter hardy in USDA hardiness zones 7b to 10b.
Plant in a partly shaded to full sun setting.
Watering & Feeding
Pagoda Flower should be watered deeply and generously throughout the hot months of summer. The soil should be kept evenly moist.
As the weather begins to cool, reduce watering. Do not water at all during the winter months.
Throughout the growing season, provide a monthly feeding of a liquid fertilizer rich in micronutrients. Alternately, you can use a granular, slow release fertilizer applied once every couple of months.
At the end of the growing season, cease fertilizing.
Soil & Transplanting
Giant Salvia needs very fertile and very well draining soil. PH level should be between 6.1 and 7.5.
Grooming & Maintenance
If you have a vining species of Clerodendrum, you should provide a trellis or some other sort of structure to give it support.
The Pagoda Flower should be pruned late in the winter before new growth appears. Prune it back vigorously because buds only form on new growth.
How To Propagate Clerodendrum Speciosissimum
Flaming Glory Bower can be propagated by air layering or by taking semi-hardwood cuttings.
To use the cuttings method, you will need to take 2” – 4” inch cuttings from fresh shoots in the springtime. Apply a rooting hormone and plant the shoots in clean, well draining compost.
Keep the container with the cuttings in an area that has high humidity and bright, indirect sunlight. Be sure that the compost stays evenly moist as new roots grow.
Clerodendrum Speciosissimum Pests or Diseases
It is especially subject to these infestations when grown in dry regions or when kept as a houseplant. It’s a good idea to examine your plant on a regular basis for signs of these pests.
If you see the pests, or signs of them (e.g. yellowing leaves, honeydew collected on leaves, sooty mold) try blasting your plant with a hard spray of water to simply knock the pests off.
You’ll need to repeat this several times to get rid of all adult insects and their offspring.
If delivering strong sprays of water several times a week does not get rid of the pests within a couple of weeks, try spraying with insecticidal soap.
Is Speciosissimum Considered Toxic or Poisonous?
Ingesting Clerodendrum leaves or flowers can cause an upset stomach. It’s a good idea not to plant these plants in areas where children, pets and livestock may be present.
It is important to understand that many species of plants in the Lamiaceae family are used in indigenous medicine and folk medicine for the treatment of a wide variety of ailments and diseases.
Furthermore, about a dozen species within the genus, Clerodendrum, have been studied extensively because of their powerful biological activities and chemical constituents. Indeed, nearly 300 useful, medicinal compounds have been identified and isolated.
It’s easy to see that it would be wise to handle this plant with care.
Is Speciosissimum Considered Invasive?
Clerodendrum Speciosissimum is a fast and enthusiastic grower and can easily crowd other plants out. Even so, it is not technically listed as invasive; however, it is identified as a naturalized or environmental weed.
It is also referred to as a cultivation escapee by the 2012 Global Compendium of Weeds.
The plant reproduces freely both vegetatively and through seeds. It presents a high weed potential and invasiveness risk in Hawaii and other tropical areas where it is not native.
Suggested Uses For Clerodendrum Speciosissimum
As an enthusiastically growing shrub, Flaming Glory Bower is most suited to being kept as a container plant.
This will help check its spread in tropical settings and also enables you to move it out of cold weather and into shelter during the winter months in colder climates.
Throughout the growing season, Clerodendrum speciosissimum species produce masses of pretty, fragrant, nectar filled blooms that are extremely attractive to hummingbirds, bees, butterflies and other pollinators.
As a container plant, it makes a stunning addition to your porch, patio, butterfly garden or placed near your bird feeding station.