Clerodendrum Bleeding Heart Care: How To Grow Bleeding Heart Vines

Clerodendrum Bleeding Heart Care: How To Grow Bleeding Heart Vines

By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer

Also known as glorybower or tropical bleeding heart, Clerodendrum bleeding heart (Clerodendrum thomsoniae) is a sub-tropical vine that wraps its tendrils around a trellis or other support. Gardeners appreciate the plant for its shiny green foliage and dazzling crimson and white blooms.

Bleeding Heart Information

Clerodendrum bleeding heart is native to western Africa. It is not related to the Dicentra bleeding heart, a perennial with dainty pink or lavender and white blooms.

Although some types of Clerodendrum are extremely invasive, Clerodendrum bleeding heart is a well-behaved, non-aggressive plant that reaches lengths of about 15 feet (4.5 m.) at maturity. You can train Clerodendrum bleeding heart vines to twine around a trellis or other support, or you can let the vines sprawl freely over the ground.

Growing Clerodendrum Bleeding Heart

Clerodendrum bleeding heart is suitable for growing in USDA zones 9 and above and is damaged in temperatures below 45 degrees F (7 C). However, it often regrows from the roots in spring. In cooler climates, it is commonly grown as a houseplant.

Clerodendrum bleeding heart performs best in partial shade or dappled sunlight, but it may tolerate full sunlight with plenty of moisture. The plant prefers rich, fertile, well-drained soil.

Clerodendrum Bleeding Heart Care

Water the plant frequently during dry weather; the plant requires consistently moist, but not soggy soil.

Clerodendrum bleeding heart needs frequent fertilization to supply the nutrients required to produce blooms. Feed the plant a slow-release fertilizer every two months during the blooming season, or use a water-soluble fertilizer every month.

Although Clerodendrum bleeding heart is relatively pest-resistant, it is susceptible to damage by mealybugs and spider mites. Insecticidal soap spray is generally sufficient to keep the pests in check. Reapply the spray every seven to 10 days, or until the insects are eliminated.

Bleeding Heart Vine Pruning

Prune Clerodendrum bleeding heart vine by removing wayward growth and winter damage before new growth appears in spring. Otherwise, you can trim the plant lightly as needed throughout the growing season.

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Lamprocapnos spectabilis in bloom. Photo by: Ivo Vitanov Velinov / Shutterstock.

These easy-care, shade-loving perennials pop up in early spring and grow quickly. Their characteristic heart-shaped flowers bloom in shades of pink, red or white and hang delicately from arching stems from late spring to early summer.

Common bleeding heart plants (Lamprocapnos spectabilis, formerly Dicentra spectabilis) die back after flowering, but don’t worry — they’ll return again the following spring. Dicentra eximia varieties, also called fringed bleeding hearts, bloom for a longer time and don’t go dormant. Learn more about growing and caring for both of these types of bleeding hearts and others.


Bleeding Heart vine is botanically called as Clerodendrum thomsoniae is also known as The glory bower which is an attractive bushy, tropical looking twining vine.

Kingdom Plantae Division Magnoliophyta Family Verbenaceae (Verbena family) Genus Clerodendrum Species thomsoniae

There are over 400 species of Bleeding Hearts, including climbers, shrubs, herbaceous plants and trees. Bleeding Heart Vine flowers are mostly from warm climates and are summer flowers. Most, of the Bleeding Heart Vine, plants have very showy flowers. Bleeding Heart Vine blooms profusely with rich crimson corollas peeking from white, balloon-like calyxes. The flowers are seen as clusters of red and white.

Bleeding Heart Vine should not be confused with Bleeding Heart, in the Decentra genus. Bleeding Heart vine is a complete different plant as they are tropical flowers, and the former is not.

This is a twining, evergreen shrub, originating from West Africa. Its leaves are dark green colored and are 5-7 inches in length. They are good climbing plants and are relatively easier to grow as they are sun-loving plants. They are quite aesthetic too, as they produce tons of flowers which can be easily trimmed to the desired size. Its fruits are black and contain black seeds.

Flowering Season

Early in spring, or late in winter in mild climates, new shoots grow from bleeding heart's rhizomatous roots under the soil. Rhizomatous roots are fleshy roots that store nutrients and genetic information from season to season. The green foliage grows 2 to 3 feet tall in a soft, mounding shape. By mid-spring, the flower stalks emerge above the foliage. Each flower stalk holds multiple heart-shaped flowers that hang in a row. The weight of the flowers causes the narrow stalks to arch and hang toward the ground.

How to Grow Clerodendrum Plants

Clerodendrum is a beautiful group of plants that are gaining more and more popularity in the past several years. These are particularly popular in the spring markets so you might wish to grow them.

Keep in mind that these plants are also known as Clerodendron so you will find information about both of these. If you seek info about these plants make sure to search under both names to find all the relevant articles and materials that are of interest to you.

One great thing about Clerodendrum plants is that they can add so much color to your garden. Spring markets often prioritize plants based on gorgeous foliage and colors they can provide. Most of the time, this refers to various bushes and hibiscus trees that can add color to your garden but there are many other plants you can choose. Some good choices include Clerodendrum plants, as well as Mendevillas, Bougainvillea plant, Stephanotis, Allamanda cathartica, and more. Out of these, Clerodendrum is a relatively new group of garden plants so people are only starting to discover its beauty.

The Most Popular Varieties

One important thing you need to remember about Clerodendrum is that these are relatively new plants. Of course, they are not really “new” but they are only starting to appear in gardens. It means that people’s interest in these plants is new.

This means that there are still not many well-known varieties you can grow in your garden. There is one dominant variety that almost all people use so chances are that if you want to grow Clerodendrum you will grow this exact variety.

This popular variety is Clerodendrum thomsoniae. This plant is best known under variety name “Bleeding Heart Vine”. If you find plants labeled as Bleeding Heart Vine, know that these are Clerodendrum plants that you can grow in your garden.

It is also important to remember that many of the newly introduced varieties have been unknown until various gardeners started producing the Bleeding Heart Vine commercially.

Clerodendrum plants come in several different forms. Some are vining types and bushes while others have a form of small trees. There are even some forms of Clerodendrum that can go either way.

Keep in mind that most varieties of Clerodendrum are considered tropical, except for the “Bungei” pink. This is a Clerodendrum variety that can survive in the gardens from the South to the northern areas.

All Clerodendrum varieties are great bloomers and will provide flowers all year long. The only exception is Thomsoniae variety that blooms through fall-spring time.

Depending on the variety, Clerodendrum plants can have a very different flower and leap shape. Many have the most familiar urn shape of flower but this is far from the only possibility. For example, there are variants of Clerodendrum plants that have tight clusters of small flowers and small, slender leaves. There are also varieties with large, round leaves.

Clerodendrum Plant Care

The relative “newness” of Clerodendrum as a gardening plant means that there is not so much information available for these plants. It also means that gardeners who wish to grow these plants should be careful and try different methods to care for their plants. There is not set protocol about how to care for these beautiful plants – we are still discovering what they like best and what makes them thrive. In this sense. Clerodendrum plants are ideal for those who like to experiment and who want to try different things until they find a perfect way to make their plants thrive.

Luckily, there are many things that we do know about Clerodendrum care. In this sense, these plants are not reserved only those who wish to experiment. Even regular gardeners can make their Clerodendrum plants grow strong.

These plants are not really demanding when it comes to the type of the soil. However, they prefer a rich, well-drained soil that can hold some water. Keep this in mind when choosing the soil for planting your Clerodendrum plants.

Another thing that you need to provide on regular basis is fertilizer. All varieties of Clerodendrum prefer even, well-balanced fertilizer. These plants are vigorous growers so they need some plant food to thrive.

When it comes to sun, it is important to remember that these plants prefer a lot of light and sun. However, it is also possible to grow them in some shade. In fact, some of the large leaf bush types of Clerodendrum plants actually prefer woodland areas. These areas provide plenty of shade from high trees so keep this in mind if you want to grow a leaf bush variety of Clerodendrum.

Most Clerodendrum varieties need specific temperatures to grow properly. They need temperatures between 60 and 85 degrees to thrive. The one exception is the hardy variety Bungei.This one can grow in more temperature zones than the other Clerodendrum plants.

It is also important to water your plant regularly. Some Clerodendrum varieties have more drought tolerance than the others. However, for the best performance and to promote flowering, it is important to water your Clerodendrum regularly.

All Clerodendrum varieties are vigorous growers. You need to prune them regularly or else they will lose their shape.

Growing Clerodendrum Plants in Containers

While many people choose to grow their Clerodendrum plants in ground, this is not the only option. It is also possible to grow your Clerodendrum plants in pots. It is best to use 1 to 3 gallon pot. Varieties such as Java Red, Ugandense and Thomsoniae are best kept in 6 inch or 1 gallon pots.

Some larger varieties, such as Mary Jane, Bungei and Fragrants require bigger pots. These varieties are best kept in containers that are bigger than 3 gallons. These plants are vigorous growers and will quickly outgrow a 3 gallon pot unless you keep them pruned.

Some people also choose to grow their Clerodendrum plants as patio or landscape plants. For this purpose, it is best to use 1 to 2 gallon pots. If you have small to large containers, it is best to use a trellis for your plant.

Some varieties, such as Shooting Star and Ugandense Blue make great standard trees.

You can keep your Clerodendrum plants in pots outdoors but some people choose to grow their plaints indoors. The best variety to grow inside as a houseplant is Bleeding Heart Vine.

This is also a good way to grow Clerodendrum plants but keep in mind that plants that are grown indoors do not flower as much as those that are kept outside. It may even happen that your Clerodendrum won’t flower indoors.

Keep in mind that Clerodendrum plants need to be pruned to maintain their shape. This is particularly important for those that are kept in containers so they don’t outgrow their pot.

Is Bleeding Heart Toxic?

Bleeding heart plants contain isoquinoline alkaloids that are toxic to humans and animals. Serious cases of poisoning are common in dogs and horses, but much less common in humans.

Symptoms of Poisoning

The toxins in bleeding heart can cause liver damage and seizures in humans when ingested in large quantities. Small dogs are especially likely to suffer liver damage with relatively limited exposure. Horses that graze on the plant have also been known to be poisoned. Humans should not eat any part of the plant and can experience mild skin irritation or rash from contact.


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Bleeding Heart Plant Features

Bleeding hearts are an outstanding choice for adding color and texture to shady or woodland settings. All species have incredibly attractive, deeply cut foliage with charming pink heart-shaped flowers in the spring. There are various sizes available and hybrids have been developed over the years to expand the range of flower colors and increase the blooming period. Plan for the plants to go dormant during the heat of summer by planting close to other plants that can "fill in the gap" for a while, such as Hosta or Hellebores. The Dicentra will return when the weather cools again in the spring.

Bleeding Heart Questions?
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Bleeding Heart Growing Instructions

Bleeding heart prefers a shady spot in the garden with rich, slightly moist soil. Mulch the plants to maintain consistent soil moisture and mark their planting bed so you don't accidentally dig them up after they go dormant in late summer. In the right conditions some bleeding heart can grow 3 to 4 feet tall so you might need to stake them to prevent the plants from sprawling over their neighbors.

Bleeding heart is not recommended for human or animal consumption.

Watch the video: How to propagate Bleeding Heart plant - Clerodendrum thomsoniae