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5 Dec 2019

A cloud of blue butterflies. Their showy red or violet flower panicles set against often triangular, large dark green leaves make these plants worthy of a place in your garden.

Words: Linda Ross


Fact file

Name: Clerodendrum sp. commonly known as Glory Bower, Glory Flower, Lolly Bush, Butterfly Flower, Spanish Jasmine and Bleeding Heart Vine.

A genus of approximately 400 species of evergreen or deciduous small trees, shrubs and climbers.  Leaves can be triangular or oval to pointed and heights range from 1.2m to 5m.  They do best in partly shaded positions where they are protected from the hot afternoon sun.  Flowers are pinks and reds in the main, often fragrant.  Black fruit forms after flowering in some species, making a striking contrast against the calyces.

Belongs:  to the mint family Lamiaceae

Origins: Tropical and sub-tropical Africa and Asia

Flowering: Summer through to autumn


Now: Scented terminal panicles of red or violet or pink dangle sweetly, making evening strolls through the summer garden a delight.  Water well throughout the warmer months.  Propagate from semi-hardwood cuttings in summer.

Autumn:  Make the most of those remaining fragrant flowers.

Winter: Prune to shape in mid-winter, propagate from hardwood cuttings or divide any unwanted suckers.

Spring: Apply slow-release fertiliser and increase watering.  Sow seed in spring.

We love them: In tropical gardens, surrounded by gingers, cannas, Golden Cane Palms and bromeliads.  They look equally at home in a conventional mixed shrubbery, with camellias, abutilons (Chinese Lantern) and azaleas. Mix in some winter and spring flowering bulbs with deciduous varieties to ensure you have a year-round display of flowers.

Warnings: Clerodendrum is not frost tolerant.  Suckering can be a problem.  If this is the case, dig suckers up and share them in winter.

What else: Leaves can emit unusual smells when rubbed, eg. C. trichotomum is like peanut butter (so these plants will keep the children busy for hours!). 

Where to buy: Available throughout our Nursery Network over summer.