Clerodendrum for Florida

Clerodendrum for Florida
Go Social
Browsing through the photos on my iphone, there seems to be a recurring theme: plants, pugs and Mike. And probably in that order. I couldn’t help but notice that lately I have quite a few photos of clerodendrum in the mix, both in flower and in seed and it seemed I need to pull all of my favorites into one place. You guessed it, this piece. There are so many great clerodendrum for Florida that I will probably miss a few here but I will include a few favorites
Clerodendrum wallichii- Weeping Glorybower

Clerodendrum paniculatum, Pagoda Flower

With large 12″ flowers in bright orange colors, this clerodendrum always noticed when in flower. Pagoda flower can get very tall after several years of warm winters and has reached upward of 8′ tall in central Florida. It has large leaves on single stems and can be aggressive, spreading through runners underground. These are easily removed by hand pulling and can be kept in bounds. This clerodendrum grows well in both sun or shade.
Clerodendrum paniculatum, Pagoda flower

Clerodendrum quadriloculare, Starburst Clerodendrum

The first clerodendrum I met in Florida (kind of sounds like a blind date, doesn’t it?). While working at Discovery Cove we had masses of these shrubs serving as screening along our back areas and aviary. During the summer then had nice foliage with leaves showing the beautiful purple color on the back and in the early spring they would burst forth with huge sprays of flowers in pink and white. They really do look like a starburst!  This species also suckers, but at a slower rate than the Pagoda flower.
Clerodendrum quadriloculare, Starburst Clerodendrum
The overall height of Starburst Clerodendrum for Florida varies. It responds well to pruning and can be kept as a small shrub without sacrificing height or allowed to grow up to 15′ tall. The folks at Lee County Extension cite it is can be grown in a tree form with a single trunk or multi trunked.
Clerodrendrum quadriloculare

Clerodendrum quadriloculare ‘Brandonii’

There is a variety of Starburst Clerodendrum called Clerodendrum quadriloculare ‘Brandonii’ featuring gorgeous variegated leaves. This is on my “hit list” right now!  Translation: I neeeeeed to find this plant for my garden!  In addition to the flowers, the leaves look great all year and especially in a slightly shady area they add depth and color. Starburst Clerodendrums grow best in partial shade, at least enjoying protection from hot afternoon sun.
Clerodendrum quadriloculare 'Brandonii'

Clerodendrum minahassae, Starfish Clerodendrum

Starfish Clerodendrum is a large shrub or small tree with long white flowers. The flowers are not the interesting characteristic though, but instead the bright red starfish-shaped seed pods that form after. These large stars are almost 2″ in diameter and persist on the tree for some time. Another clerodendrum for Florida shade, this can be trained to a single or multi-trunk tree or allowed to grow as a large shrub.
Clerodendrum minahassae, Starfish flower

Clerodendrum indicum, Tube Flower

Clerodendrum indicum, or Tube Flower, is very similar to the Starfish Clerodendrum from a distance. Upon closer inspection though, it is easy to see Tube Flower generally has 1-4 seeds in the center of the persistent light pink sepals and are often in clusters.
Clerodendrum indicum- Tube flower
In my opinion Tube Flower is best used in combination with other plants and as an accent from the back. It can get leggy and over 6′ tall, so it will still add interest when planted behind other shrubs and perennials and better appreciated than if it is towering over the edge of a sidewalk or garden bed.
Clerodendrum indicum- Tube flower

Clerodendrum splendens, Flaming Glorybower Vine

Flaming Glorybower Vine is a riot of deep red-orange flowers throughout the fall and winter. Sensitive to a hard freeze, it continues to aggressively climb and cover a trellis or chainlink fence throughout the year.

Clerodendrum splendens, Flaming Glorybower Vine

  Large leaves on the Clerodendrum splendens vine make it excellent for screening purposes.
Clerodendrum splendens, Flaming Glorybower Vine

Clerodendrum x speciosum, Bleeding Heart Vine

Similar to Clerodendrum splendens but with a much softer and cooler color palette. It bears red flowers with purple bracts and is a vigorous grower that suckers. Another vine that works well for covering a fence or creating privacy.

Clerodendrum x speciosum, Bleeding Heart Vine

Clerodendrum x speciosum, Bleeding Heart Vine

Clerodendrum ugandense, Blue Butterfly Bush

I have to admit that I face a little bit of confusion with this plant. Some sources cite it as Rotheca ugandense, while others including the Missouri Botanical Gardens use the name Clerodendrum ugandense. Since we are examining the abundance of clerodendrums for Florida it seems appropriate to use the genus Clerodendrum.

True blue is a color that is hard to find in nature. This plant does well in both moist sun and shade and produces these blue flowers throughout most of the year. It is a favorite of bees and certainly a pollinator magnet. Despite the name Blue Butterfly Bush I haven’t actually seen many butterflies attracted to these flowers. Clerodendrum ugandense is a medium to large shrub reaching a height of 6′ tall.

Clerodendrum ugandense, Blue Butterfly Bush

Clerodendrum wallachii, Bridal Veil

I don’t know why this plant is still unusual or hard to find. It is so graceful and well kept that it would be a pleasure to have in almost any garden. The white cascading flowers are easily visible at night and the dark green leaves are a pleasurable backdrop or screen.

Clerodendrum wallichii- Weeping Glorybower
Bridal Veil can be grown on as a “standard” with just a single truck or allowed to become a bush-like plant. It doesn’t sucker in the same way some of the other clerodendrums mentioned earlier will, yet it grows well in many different growing conditions. Flowers are most noticeable summer through fall.
Clerodendrum wallichii- Weeping Glorybower

 Clerodendrum incisum, Musical Note Clerodendrum

Musical note clerodendrum first caught my eye five or six years ago on a trip to Boynton Beach. The flowers are most spectacular right before they open when showing the beautiful musical note shape. At our house this plant flowers several times throughout the year– usually covered in flowers for a few weeks before resting again.

This is in the small shrub category, usually about three feet tall. Musical Note Clerodendrum appreciates relief from intense afternoon sun but tolerates part shade conditions well. It can become leggy after a year or so and benefits from a hard pruning to help it retain vigor and a better shape.

Clerondendrum 'Musical Note'

Clerodendrum smitinandii, Light Bulb Plant

I never knew I needed this plant until I saw it a few weeks ago. These small, 1″ white drops of flowers were hanging from a thin branch and covered in big, fat raindrops. It looked like the branch would snap any minute but the water drops just sparkled in the light.

Clerodendrum smitinandii- Light Bulb Plant

I cannot find much information on Clerodendrum smitinandii which makes me want to grow it in my shade garden all the more. It seems to reach a height of about two feet tall and does best in partial shade with moist soil. Wouldn’t this be a great combination with Bridal Veil clerodendrum?  Obviously the common name is derived from the unopened bulb-like buds but even the open flowers are quite beautiful.

Clerodendrum smitinandii- Light Bulb Plant

 

Clerodendrums for Florida are an easy sell for me. Have you tried any of these in your landscape? Are there any I’ve missed?

For now I will keep searching my local nurseries and plant sales, trying to acquire a few more of the plants mentioned here…

 

Want to learn more about clerodendrums for Florida?

An article I wrote for Lowes is available here.

The Leu Gardens publication on Clerodendrums is here.

 



Back To Top