Plant Encyclopedia Index|
Trees | Shrubs | Vines | Ground Covers | Palms
Home Decor Index|
Ceramic Containers | Metal Containers |
Planter Baskets | Floral Baskets | Gift Baskets
Clerodendrum is a large group of trees and shrubs which includes many woody climbers. There are over one hundred species in this genus, but only a few are in cultivation. Most of these species are tropical and must be brought indoors when temperatures approach freezing.
Clerodendrum thomsoniae-Bleeding Heart is typical of the woody climbers of the genus. It is a tropical plant, native to Tropical West Africa. Other adjectives that have been used to describe the Bleeding Heart is: vigorous, controllable, bushy, shrubby, vining, twining, woody, deciduous, and evergreen. How is it that some of these adjectives seem to contradict each other? This speaks to the flexibility of the plant. For example, let it grow in the center of your yard, without support, and you will have a very nice informal hedge or bush. Put it up against a support and you have a very nice vine. Live in the tropics with year around warm temperatures and humidity, and you have an evergreen plant. Live in colder climates and your plant becomes deciduous without added water and humidity.
Temperatures approaching freezing will cause this plant to die back. It has been known to survive temperatures in the 20's, resulting in die back to the ground, with good recovery from the roots once warmer spring temperatures arrived. If you plan on bringing the plant indoors for the winter, you should leave it in a smaller container, providing support stakes at the height that is desirable for your situation. If you can provide it with enough humidity, it will remain evergreen indoors. If the humidity is too low it will go deciduous, becoming a container full of sticks. Just let it rest during this period, watering infrequently. Come spring it will return with vigor. At that point you can trim any dead twigs, and cut it back to your desired height.
Although Clerodendrum thomsoniae-Bleeding Heart will grow well in full shade, it preforms better in brighter areas. The ideal situation is full sun, with partial shade during the hottest parts of the day. The brighter the light situation, the more flowers will be produced. The flowers are born in clusters. Each flower has 2 components which make this such a desirable plant. The calyx is white and is formed in the shape of a bell. On most other flowers, the calyx will open with the flower and appears to be part of the flower. On the Bleeding Heart, however, it never opens - remaining in the bell shape. The actual flower protrudes from the calyx in a contrasting, bright red display. Hence the common name Bleeding Heart. The heaviest blooms will occur during the summer months, but in the tropics it will bloom off and on all through the year. The flowers will last a very long time, in some cases over a month. They are also popular as cut flowers because of their longevity in flower arrangements. The variety "Delectum" has the same growth and flowering habits, but have violet flowers with a lavender calyx.