How to Grow Bleeding Heart Vine

When you have a shady landscape, having a pendulous spring flowering bleeding heart plant outdoors is a must. But despite the name, it causes a lot of confusion 🙃 as many think of the Lamprocapnos spectabilis.

Still, these plants are not the same but a bit more on that later. You can find hundreds of bleeding heart vines when growing herbs, shrubs, or vines.

Today we will look at the Clerodendrum thomsoniae, a fast-growing plant outdoors that climbs.

Plant Name: Clerodendrum thomsoniae

Other Name: Bleeding heart vine, glory bower, bag flower

Plant Type: Evergreen vine

Native Areas: Africa

Light Requirement: Full sun to partial shade

Watering: Average

Fertilizer: Balanced fertilizer

Toxicity: Non-toxic

Temperature:  55° F to 75° F

Propagation: Softwood cuttings

Growth: 15 feet tall and 5 feet wide

Soil Type: Acidic to neutral and alkaline soil

USDA Hardiness Zones: 10-12

More About Clerodendrum Bleeding Heart

lovely pink flowers of bleeding heart

The bleeding heart vine is a twining sub-tropical vine from tropical West Africa with loads of confusion. Some familiar names include glory bower, which many plants have hence the confusion.

The main confusion is that the plant is registered as part of the Lamiaceae (mint) family, and in other registers, it is in the Verbena family. One thing is for sure it is not related to the Dicentra spectabilis that has red blood exuding from the heart-shaped calyx.

The tropical bleeding heart plant has small flat flowers with inflated white calyxes that emerge in crimson or dark red corollas. The stamens extend beyond the petals and are born on terminal clusters. The blooms last for months, but the red corolla is not long-lived.

The blooms become pale pink, lavender, or white flowers with age. When pollinated, the flowers produce fruit that starts green and ripens to red-black, and when it opens, it disperses black seeds. The tropical bleeding heart is a vine but can also grow bushy.

The dark green leaves are glossy and grow to seven inches long with a smooth edge and pointed. It reaches 15 feet long outdoors but is smaller as an indoor plant. The vine looks fabulous in a hanging basket but grows well along a trellis.

Types of Glory Bower

When you hear the term glory tree, bag flower, or glory bower, more than 400 types are available.

  • Clerodendrum splendens or Flaming Glorybower is an evergreen that grows up to 30 feet long with red flowers during winter.

  • Clerodendrum x speciosum, or the Clerodendrum Vine, has a shrub-like form and a hybrid growing up to 30 feet long. It blooms in winter to spring with bicolored flowers in red to dull pink.

  • The Shooting Star grows up to 15 feet tall with fragrant pink flowers in the fall and spring, with the leaves having a deep purple underside.

  • The Harlequin Glorybower is a deciduous shrub to train to grow as a tree with large clusters of white tubes to the fleshy red calyx, forming turquoise-colored fruit.

Clerodendrum Thomsoniae Care

The Clerodendrum thomsoniae you need to treat as a tender perennial during the growing season. Then find a spot where it can enjoy the dormancy period in winter months. So, how do you care for bleeding hearts 💕? Let me show you here:

Tropical Bleeding Heart Light Needs

For the bleeding glory bower to produce fruits, it needs bright light standing in a sunny window on the south side of the home. If you live in the USDA hardiness zones 9 to 11, you can grow your vine outdoors in full sun with partial shade. But in cooler climates, it is best to grow them in containers and bring them indoors when the temperatures drop.

Clerodendrum Bleeding Heart Soil Needs

well-draining soil for bleeding heart

The bleeding heart vine needs well-drained soil that remains moist but not soggy, as it can lead to root rot. The plant can tolerate different soils, from sandy to loamy if it drains excess water well. You can enrich the soil with some organic material.

Watering Bleeding Heart Vine

watreing for bleeding heart

It is a thirsty plant outdoors and inside, but you must leave it to dry between watering during the growing season. So, water them an inch per week but prepare yourself as a mature Clerodendrum bleeding heart vine can drink up to three gallons of water 💦 weekly. If your home is dry inside, it helps to mist the shiny green foliage, and during winter months, you can water less.

Temperature and Humidity

temperature and humidity for bleeding heart

Ideal temperatures for the tropical plant are 50° F to 55° F and temperatures lower than 45° F can damage your tropical vine. Still, even if damaged, the roots often regrow in spring, and it prefers moderate humidity of 50% and higher. In warm summer temperatures, the tropical bleeding heart vine thrives outdoors.

But remember to water when the soil is dry to prevent root rot.

Overwintering Bleeding Heart Vine

For the glory tree in colder regions, moving your tropical plant indoors is best to protect it from the cold. In the native habitat, these plants go dormant in winter and naturally die back. Move your plant to a room where it is cool without receiving direct sunlight.

Also, withhold watering until you see new growth start. You can expect your plant to lose some leaves and can prune it back at the end of winter to 12 inches. Then move your plant to a sunny window and start watering your plant as needed.

Fertilizing Bleeding Heart Vine

Liquid fertilizer for bleeding heart

After dormancy, you can feed your plant every two weeks with a liquid fertilizer. If you use a granule feed, provide your plant a 1/4 cup every six weeks during the active growing season. Provide your tropical vine with supplemental calcium using lime in the soil.

A month before your plant goes dormant, stop feeding it.

Bleeding Heart Vine Pruning and Repotting

You can prune away dead wood before the new growth appears in late winter. Furthermore, you can cut back the stems to 12 inches. The clusters of blooms appear in the flowering period on new growth.

But wait until your plants are done flowering before you start pruning. You can do minor shape trimming anytime to remove dead foliage and pinch back the vines to form a shrub. Or leave it to create a mound when grown in hanging baskets.

The best time to repot the bleeding heart vine is during the dormant period before spring starts, or your plant outgrows the current container. The Clerodendrum thomsoniae prefers being slightly pot-bound to produce flowers. Ensure that the new container has enough drainage holes to prevent waterlogging leading to the roots rotting.

Propagating Clerodendrum Thomsoniae

Your vine benefits from hard pruning as most other plants to keep them in an ideal size. The best time to propagate is in early spring using the semi-ripe cuttings. You can use stem cuttings or sow the seed.

Using Stem Cuttings:

  1. Clip four-inch semi-ripe stem cuttings using a straight cut below a leaf node.

  2. Remove all the leaves except for the top three leaves.

  3. Place the cutting inside a container filled with water or a pot filled with humus-rich soil.

  4. Plant the cutting and moisten and place in a warm spot.

  5. For plants grown in water, freshen up the water when it evaporates, and you should notice new root growth in about two weeks. Then plant it in the soil and keep it in a sunny spot.

  6. For your planted stem cuttings, you need to mist them daily and not allow the soil to dry out. The roots should appear within six weeks, and when you notice new growth, you can gently tug the stem to see if the roots are established.

Sowing Seeds

When the flowers are pollinated, the flowers will develop into green fruits that ripen red-black. Inside you find four black seeds growing in each fruit. The best time to sow seeds is in spring, but the germination is slow.

So the best success rate is to nick the seeds and soak them in lukewarm water for the day. Then place the seeds on peat moss with vermiculite or sand and tamp it down with your finger. Cover the seed barely with soil and put it in a warm sunny window with bright light.

Once seedlings reach a height that is easy to handle, transfer them into individual pots.

Common Pests and Plant Diseases

One of the primary diseases you find with a bleeding heart vine is botrytis blight, and it can be prevented when you provide bleeding hearts with enough air circulation. You can do this by placing your plant at the window to receive a slight breeze.

Regarding bugs, the heart vine is bothered by a few pests like spider mites or mealybugs, generally found along the stems or on the underside of the large clusters of leaves. Use a natural insecticide like neem oil or insecticidal soap. Washing them off with soapy water helps.

You will need to reapply the application until the bugs are eliminated. Another nuisance indoors is whiteflies; it helps to keep your plant well drained and watered to prevent them from forming. Again provide your plant with sufficient light and shade as needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

While the dark green leaves of the bleeding heart vine are a main attraction, the large clusters of flowers are a showstopper during the flowering period. The nectar attracts butterflies; the panicles are scented and not overly aromatic. When pollinated, it produces green fruits.

To ensure that your Clerodendrum thomsoniae blooms feed it regularly every six to eight weeks. Use a fertilizer with added calcium or organic calcium supplements that encourage blooming. Cut the stems back to an inch off the ground after it complete a bloom to force another flower.

As fall approaches, the bloom period slows and provides enough direct sunlight daily.

When the Clerodendrum thomsoniae gets too much sunlight or insufficient water, you see discolored patches on the foliage. We recommend moving your plant from direct sunlight into some shade or giving it more water.

White patches to silky webbing are a sign of mealybugs or spider mites on the plant. It can happen when the humidity becomes low, and you can use neem oil to treat this infestation. Spray your bleeding heart vine daily to keep the foliage moist.

It is a sign that your plant is getting too little water or the temperatures have been very hot. When you notice yellow dots and it spreads, it can result from chlorosis, a lack of chlorophyll. It can happen with damaged roots, poor drainage, or compact roots.

Furthermore, the bleeding heart vine can have a nutrient deficiency or too much alkalinity in the soil. You can give your plant a blood meal for iron when the yellow appears on younger leaves or the terminal clusters.

Or give them a bone meal when the yellowing first appears on the inner and old leaves. These will help with nutrient deficiencies.

Growing bleeding heart vine is a climbing plant that needs support like a trellis. But when kept pruned, it can form a mound or shrub. Those dark green vines even look fabulous in a hanging basket.

The bleeding heart is a fast grower but a well-behaved vine with non-aggressive traits.

Whether you want to buy, sell, or simply reach out to other plant enthusiasts, Plantly is the right place to be!

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