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Clerodendrum..keep or toss?

Posted by hopefulauthor z5IL ( on
Mon, Oct 22, 12 at 15:59

A few years ago, I bought a Clerodendrum for 4.00.

It grew tall, 'hitting the ceiling,' but never flowered. I cut stems back last spring, assuming new growth would promote blooms, but no such luck.

Leaves aren't variegated nor does it flower..

Does anyone know what it takes to get Clerodendrums to bloom? Or, since I find it boring, should it be tossed? Thanks, Toni

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Clerodendrum..keep or toss?

Which Clerodendrum species do you have, Toni?

RE: Clerodendrum..keep or toss?

Hi Flora..Clerodendrum species is thomsoniae/Glory-Bower.
Do you have a Clerodendrum, know its care or prompting blooms?
I Googled, but there's not much information.

RE: Clerodendrum..keep or toss?

What, you toss a plant?

Excuse me, but who ARE you & what did you do w/ the REAL Toni?

Hoping you don't mind a bit of a tease, I don't do it often & couldn't resist.

Sorry, I have no tips for you on this at all. A late & well loved plant mentor of mine who used to grow this gave me a piece or 2. Sadly they didn't make it at my house. (He started me on Hoyas, ZZ plants grown from leaves & Euph miliii moratii). My fond memories of Roger make me say 'no, no, pls. don't toss it, somebody needs to have some tips for you'. Besides, what's one more plant (I hear you, you find it boring) Oh well.

(PG) Karen

RE: Clerodendrum..keep or toss?

You DO know that these are photosensitive plants, right? They need short days/long nights (with out artificial lighting) in order to bloom. Full sun is best during the day.

RE: Clerodendrum..keep or toss?

I hope you don't mean that you would literally throw it away. I hate to see a healthy plant thrown away. Offer it on the Plant Exchange forum if you're bored with it - I'm certain that someone here would love to have it. If nothing else, someone in a zone where it can grow outside would probably be able to get it to bloom and would be happy to trade you for it.

RE: Clerodendrum..keep or toss?

I was going to say about the same thing as PG... Toni's been abducted by aliens! Daggone, she was starting to grow on me...

RE: Clerodendrum..keep or toss?

We have a lot of native Clerodendrums here, they flower prolifically but they're all shrubs/small trees. I checked Wiki which said it was from tropical West Africa, a liana, and they had this comment about it:

--This plant was very popular during the mid 19th century under the name "beauty bush". It lost favour only when its unusual culture conditions were forgotten. Specifically, its root system must be partially submerged in water most of the time, and it wants very good light.--

As it's tropical it wouldn't want long nights. In the tropics there's little change in day length throughout the year. Where I am sunrise on the longest day is just over a half hour earlier than on the shortest day. So the difference between the longest and shortest days is a bit over an hour. That would also be the natural pattern that your plant evolved in.

Funnily enough I was in a nursery a couple of days ago and they had a lot of your species on sale, all in flower. But I decided I really didn't have a suitable spot for it. Now that I've read about it liking some flooding I just might have that suitable spot.

RE: Clerodendrum..keep or toss?

Toni - I've never grown C thomsoniae, but I just wondered which one it was since, as Tropicbreezent says, there are a lot. One, C trichotum, is a hardy tree here. I've found no mention of photoperiodicity or a requirement to grow in water on sites I've searched. But it definitely likes a nice steamy atmosphere. I've seen it in flower in the greenhouses at Kew Gardens.

Here is a link that might be useful: Here's some info.

RE: Clerodendrum..keep or toss?

Karen and Purple...ROFL.
Split personality maybe? 'Will the real Toni please stand up.' lol..from an old tv show, for those who remember.

Karen, you speak of Roger, 'good friend,' in the past tense..Hope nothing went wrong.

Yeah, one more plant, but takes quite a bit of space..Unfortunately, I find it boring, and do not cater to its needs.

Guess I started this thread to hear others' opinions.

Rhizo..I had no idea they were short-day plants..Maybe that's the reason Clero never bloomed?
However, after reading Tropic's post, it's confusing. Long days vs short.

Summer, yes, I meant tossing it. I too feel bad discarding plants, heck, even cuttings.
If someone is willing to adopt, they're more than welcome..I wouldn't charge for the plant, but would need shipping costs. I've been ripped off one too many times sending plants/cuttings in the past.
Also have to worry about's pretty cold, supposed to get colder Friday..

Tropic, oh yes, Clero is a heavy drinker..needs watering every other day in its 10" pot.

Here in IL, long days during winter, even with artificial light are out of the question. Advantageous for Thanksgiving Cactus, Poins and certain Kalanchoes, but not plants that require 'x' hours of sun.

You're sooo hour difference. Soon, sun will set about 4pm, rise 8am. Long, long boring winter.

RE: Clerodendrum..keep or toss?

That was "To tell truth" I think.

If you're not happy with it, do the opposite. If it's been in shade, put in sun. Been moist, let it dry. Can't hurt if you are considering parting company.

No pic?

RE: Clerodendrum..keep or toss?

Flora, thank you...The link you provided really helps..
I found two things I've done wrong.
Cutting back in spring and fertilizing every two weeks.
Thanks so much..
Humidity might be a bit of a problem..I spray plants daily, and will soon turn on the humidifer. Clero is near an indoor fountain, so maybe that will help..thanks.

Purple, wasn't it, 'What's My Line,' or am I mixing show??

RE: Clerodendrum..keep or toss?

According to memory and Wiki, it was TTTT. No doubt WML was similar but I don't remember watching that one.

And let me know if you think this plant would be happier in AL...

RE: Clerodendrum..keep or toss?

Purple, you're right. I can't recall watching TTTT, but had to since I remember the line.

If Cleros need high humidity, I'd have to say yes, it'd do better in AL.

RE: Clerodendrum..keep or toss?

Ah google brings me pics, I recognise this plant from my houseplant book- Bleeding Heart Vine!
Some info I nicked from Dave's Garden, since GW wont let me link to the site ( it shows up as spam)

Category: Vines and Climbers
Height: 10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m) Spacing: 18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
Hardiness: USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 �C (30 �F) USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 �C (35 �F) USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 �C (40 �F)
Sun Exposure: Sun to Partial Shade
Danger: Unknown -Tell us
Bloom Color: Red White/Near White
Bloom Time: Late Spring/Early Summer
Foliage: Evergreen
Other details: Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater This plant is suitable for growing indoors Soil pH requirements: 6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic) 6.6 to 7.5 (neutral) Patent Information: Non-patented Propagation Methods: From woody stem cuttings Seed Collecting: Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

RE: Clerodendrum..keep or toss?

Hey Toni,

I had a meeting of my Indoor Gardening Society last night. The past president brought his variegated Clarodendron, not in bloom but beautifully multi-hued leaves.

I asked his suggestions, he's only had his a bit over a year & it hasn't bloomed for him yet. He suggested outdoors, if possible, south window when indoors. Suggests keeping it on the smaller side so it doesn't focus on leaves alone.

RE: Clerodendrum..keep or toss?

Posted by hopefulauthor z5IL ( on
Wed, Oct 24, 12 at 13:50

"Tropic, oh yes, Clero is a heavy drinker..needs watering every other day in its 10" pot"

It's not unusual for tropical plants to be able to cope with flooding, during the monsoon you normally get a lot of water coming down from the skies. A lot of ground dwelling plants, riverine plants, are standing in water for long periods, and if not that then the soil they're in is saturated. However, it's not tap water, it's rain water which has a high oxygen content, and it's constantly being renewed. In the dry season most of the soil water is replaced by air. It's always good to know your plant and the environment it comes from.

RE: Clerodendrum..keep or toss?

Thanks Larry.

I love when they write, sun to partial shade...what does that mean? lol

Karen, thanks for asking the past president at your garden club.

Wonder how short he keeps his Clero.

Depending what I decide to do and if everything is okay, next spring Clero will be trimmed and go outdoors.

Tropic...can't tell you the amount of time I spend researching 'x' plants...Google, Bing, plant books and Ebay. And of course, GW.

Some plants don't have much info or very basic.

I usually come across old sites, 'as far back as 2002.' Ex,, etc, people ask questions about their plants..
In other words, wanna-be GW sites.

So, would you consider Clero a marsh plant during growing season?

"In the dry season most of the soil water is replaced by air."

Are you saying Cleros thrive on humidity during dry, possibly dormant seasons?

RE: Clerodendrum..keep or toss?

Well my take on sun to partial shade is, it can either sit in full sun all day, or in an area where for part of the day its shaded. Like on a east facing window.
Not full shade.

RE: Clerodendrum..keep or toss?

* Posted by hopefulauthor z5IL ( on
Thu, Oct 25, 12 at 12:54

----So, would you consider Clero a marsh plant during growing season?

"In the dry season most of the soil water is replaced by air."

Are you saying Cleros thrive on humidity during dry, possibly dormant seasons?----

Not necessarily, the information I found was too vague on habitat. But the comment ".... root system must be partially submerged in water most of the time ..." suggests that (marsh) or maybe riverine habitat, where it could grow on the banks with some roots directly in water, or in soil below water level. Dry season it may barely reach water, or perhaps not at all.

But that's just supposition based on my experience of the many habitats in a monsoonal climate. Looking at your Clero, it's a vining plant. This suggests it could be a Clero that found its way into a closed canopy environment (rainforest?) and had to climb to reach higher light levels.

As I mentioned earlier, most tropical lowland areas are flooded or waterlogged during monsoons, and sometimes for the whole duration of the wet season. This raises the question of how the plant roots get their oxygen, the answer being that the rain brings a constant flow of oxygenated water. Dry season, however, as water levels drop air gets drawn down into the spaces between soil particles. Of course there are swamp plants that have their own way of sorting things.

Rainforest is fascinating, when you follow it down steep slopes, to more level but well drained soils, to swampy flats, and then into mangroves that sit in salt water. You'd be amazed at the ferns, orchids, mosses, etc., that live in the mangroves - over salt water. Nature is absolutely mind blowing when you get out in amongst it.

RE: Clerodendrum..keep or toss?


found on web:

�Full Sun: Plants labeled for a sunny location typically require six to eight hours of direct sunlight a day. Keep in mind that this refers to the amount of time the sun shines directly on the plants. The number of hours does not need to be consecutive, but must add up to at least six hours. Many sun-loving plants actually prefer more.

�Partial Sun: This label is misleading. Common sense would tell you that it means any area that receive a mixture of sun and shade - but that isn't what it really means. According to the University of Illinois Extension, partial sun refers to an area that receives direct sunlight for between four and six hours a day.

�Partial Shade: This too causes some confusion. Partial shade refers to an area that receives between two to four hours of direct sunlight shining on the plants. This may include areas along the northern side of your home or area near other garden structures that cast a shadow during the day.

�Shade: Shade refers to any area that receives less than two hours of direct sunlight a day. This includes areas under shade trees or under overhangs that prevent direct sunlight from reaching the plants.

�Dappled or Filtered Light: Occasionally, growers label plants for dappled or filtered light. This refers to an area that receives a mixture of sun and shade throughout the day. This may be under trees that allow light through the canopy or near other structured where light creates a "dappled" appearance and is neither sunny nor shaded.

RE: Clerodendrum..keep or toss?

Could I just reiterate that the plant in question is Clerodendrum thomsonii, not one of the many other Clerodendrums ranging from trees to suckering shrubs. C thomsonii is a climbing (ie vining) plant from tropical West Africa. It needs a minimum temp of 55f and flowers in spring and summer. When I saw it blooming it was in a tropical greenhouse house ie very warm, very humid and with plentiful moisture,though not standing water, at the roots. It isn't a marsh plant.

Here is a link that might be useful: A little more info on watering.

RE: Clerodendrum..keep or toss?

Larry, back room faces east and south plus artificial light at night..
An upstairs east window is fairly shady. Dracaenas do well in this spot, but doubt Clero will get enought light.
Unless Clero's really adapt to 'partial shade.' :)

TB...sounds like you've travelled a LOT! Must be fascinating.
You've posted beautiful pictures of adult plants/trees, etc...Wish I could travel..:) We're most taken during vacation?

Depending on what I decide, during winter, I'll allow Clero to dry a bit between waterings..In summer, when sun is harsh Clero will sit in a bowl-saucer w/additional water..Since soil dries quickly, extra watering 'might' help. Next summer it might go outside, set in shade then work its way to brighter light. Thank you.

If it wasn't for a zillion and one ants, I'd plant in the garden...What do you think?

Rina...There isn't any one direction where sun shines 8 hours. Back yard gets morning and a little pm sun. Darn Maple doesn't help. During pm, front yard gets mostly west, from 2pm-5/6pm, plus some north and south...During summer, forget winter..

Thanks for taking time to post different light definitions.

Flora...oh girl!! Back to square one. lol.
Clero thomsonii is definately a vine. I had no idea other Cleros grew bushy or tree-like.

Humidity during winter is a problem. There's more humidity in the gh, but temps can get cold. Especially at night.

No wonder Clero never bloomed.

RE: Clerodendrum..keep or toss?

Its funny but humidity is higher in the winter here!

RE: Clerodendrum..keep or toss?

Larry, why is humidity higher in winter???

How often does it snow? I thought you said it rarely snows, but can't recall the thread.

When we get snow, humidity increases, 'outside,' but in heated homes, humidity can be as low as 5%.

5% humidity is awful. For plants, pets AND people.

RE: Clerodendrum..keep or toss?

Toni, humidity is higher in winter, for us, because the climate is wetter. It rains a lot here. Windows are wet with condensation.
And it snowed ladt night.

RE: Clerodendrum..keep or toss?

It snowed there last night? Is it unusual for snow in Oct?
Did it acculate?

I've heard UK was foggy and rained in summer. In movies, lol, there's often snow on the ground. Especially Christmas movies. lol.

Still you're talking outside humidity..When the heat is turne on, does your house not get arid?

RE: Clerodendrum..keep or toss?

No not really. When the heating is on it just gets...warm! Ive never checked the humidity but I doubt it's dry.
And yes it is a bit unusual to snow in october but we had an icy blast from the north.
Plus our climate is changing. Supposed to be cold now but not THAT cold!

RE: Clerodendrum..keep or toss?

The climate is changing everywhere. Throughout the nation.
It's kind of scary when you think about it. Frightens me, although I'm very happy our winters have been milder than ever.

When annuals from the previous year pop up, winter was mild.

Except for a 3-week period, most of my plants could have been wintered outdoors without fear of frost-bite.

I hope Halloween is pleasant. I love when the kiddies come by for treats..think the moon will be full. Hope it's warm, a little windy...night, T-storms..
I love reading or watching a mystery/horror when winds are blowing and thunder

RE: Clerodendrum..keep or toss?

Oh we'll be out at Halloween so thankfully will miss all the trick or treaters!

RE: Clerodendrum..keep or toss?

* Posted by hopefulauthor z5IL ( on
Fri, Oct 26, 12 at 13:45

---- TB...sounds like you've travelled a LOT! Must be fascinating.
You've posted beautiful pictures of adult plants/trees, etc...Wish I could travel..:) We're most taken during vacation? -----

Toni, I wished I could travel from an early age, and then I did. Major undertakings were spending 4 years travelling in Europe. And also did 3 years living in a remote part of Arnhem Land with Aborigines (the only whiteman around for 100's of kilometres). Got around a bit in New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. Criss-crossed Australia so many different ways, and I do a lot of trekking in remote and national park areas. It's all there to be experienced, but there are 'penalties' along with the 'payoffs'.

Humidity, or Relative Humidity (RH) when expressed as a percentage means that is the amount of water in the air compared to the amount that air could absorb. So if a certain amount of air is capable of holding (in vapour form) say 1 litre of water but it only has 0.5 litres, then RH is 50%. IE, it's holding half the amount of water it's capable of holding.

When temperature goes up the air's capacity to hold water also goes up. Temperatures down and water holding capacity goes down. So the same amount of water in air at different temperatures will have a different RH.

During winter when temperature go down RH would rise when actual water content of air remains the same. When your house is heated, the air that's got the actual same quantity of water in it as outside, "becomes drier" (lower RH) because the temperature is higher. The house heating raises the capacity of the air to absorb water.

Plants respond more to RH than they do to actual water content of air.

RE: Clerodendrum..keep or toss?

Larry, are you donning a costume for Halloween? If so, whom or what will you be? :)

Do you not enjoy passing out candy to the trick or treaters? Mr. j/k.
Another item I have to buy...candy. I usually purchase plastic, Halloween bags, then place about 7 pieces/bars/gum per bag. Kids enjoy coming here.

TB..problem travelling when very young and energetic..No one gets a little older, money is no object, but energy is spent. Also, there's family to consider.

Were you accepted by the Aborgines? Were you treated well or were they suspicious? Especially when you first arrived.
What about religion? What are their beliefs?

I'm jealous of your travels. :)
Bet you saw the most exotic plants and wildlife.

If you don't mind me asking, why are there penalties along with payoffs.. if you can't answer, I understand.

Thanks for explaining humidity and RH. Makes sense.

Because our humidifer/fountain is not yet on, the house is very dry. After running both, hopefully the capacity is fulfilled.

Back to travel..there is so much to see on our planet. Beautiful sights..places most aren't able to see/visit.
If I was rich, lol, I'd love to see the world, but unless we win the lotto...............

You're a very fortunate man...

RE: Clerodendrum..keep or toss?

Trick or treat is just another form of begging. They come way before Halloween - it has no meaning and the kuds, some way too old, expect money!

RE: Clerodendrum..keep or toss?

How has this plant done for you?
What have you learned?
I just got one.

RE: Clerodendrum..keep or toss?

Hey Larry!!

Hi Scott...

What have I learned?
I learned I cannot toss a plant. lol.

IMO, Clerodendrum isn't difficult and fast-growing.
Perhaps, in my case, neglect is the key to success..:)

If only my Clero was variegated!!!

Congrats...Have a picture to share? Toni

RE: Clerodendrum..keep or toss?

it's the one on the right.

RE: Clerodendrum..keep or toss?

Hi Scott,

Are all three plants new?

I've never seen a Clero with variegation like your plant, but there's so many new hybrids and light matters too.

What are the other two plants? The first could pass for Abutilon, but can't tell for sure.

Are your plants from Kartuz?

Anyway, all three are nice-looking..

RE: Clerodendrum..keep or toss?

Only sort of relevant but I thought you might be interested in the info that Clerodendrum trichotomum (I know, not Toni's plant) grows outdoors here in the PNW with no winter protection. Two of my neighbors have them and their fragrance is insane. They smell so good and so strongly that I don't need to plant one I can smell theirs from across the street.

I haven't seen one of Toni's vines for sale anywhere in many years. They must not be easy, I've never tried one not in all the years I've grown houseplants.

Here is a link that might be useful: Toni's plants cousin

RE: Clerodendrum..keep or toss?

Hi Buy or Sell,

Thanks for the gorgeous pictures. I had no idea Clero's, when mature, grew into large trees.
They're beautiful. Wish my Clero looked half as nice. :)

You and others here are so lucky living in warm climates where plants, such as Clero's are hardy.

C. trichotomum is much prettier than C. thomsoniae. Are they seasonal bloomers?

Buy, actually my Clero is common and as far as I know, have unscented flowers.
Thomsonia's are the only Clero's I've seen for sale.

Bought at Gardinos/Rareflora. They're sold on Ebay, too.

Thanks again, Toni

RE: Clerodendrum..keep or toss?

hi hopeful,

re: the photo, yes, Abutilon on the left. Pentalinon (not a mandevilla, dipladenia, or allamanda ;) middle and Clerodendrum thomsoniae 'Variegatum' on the right. All from Kartuz.

I'm going to try them all in containers, so we'll see how that goes!
If I had more space I'm put them in the ground, but, alas, I'm restricted to containers.

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