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Focus on Clerodendrum

Sat, Mar 20th, 2021, created by Brian Whipker

The wide array of plant species grown in floriculture production is one of the highlights of the industry.  As a researcher, there is always a new avenue of scientific inquiry available with these plants.  Secondary species used in floriculture production seem to follow a pattern of popularity, fading and then a reemergence in popularity.  The cycle may take 15 to 30 years to complete, as I am seeing the popularity of species that were commonly grown while I was in high school reappear. 

Clerodendrum (Clerodendrum thomsoniae), also referred to as tropical bleeding heart, have been a favorite plant of mine over the years.  The flowers have a brilliant red corolla that is surrounded by a white calyx.  My interest in clerodendrum was sparked at a local greenhouse/garden center that has always been growing a small number of hanging baskets.  It is also common to also find clerodendrum at other family run greenhouses in North Carolina because it is a specialty crop that is not available at big box stores.  Clerodendrum can also be grown in a large pot with a trellis.  Cuttings are available from specialty propagators and it might be a plant for you to explore.

About the Author:

Brian Whipker

Professor, Horticulture, North Carolina State University

Brian E. Whipker is a professor of floriculture at North Carolina State University. He has an appointment split between extension and research, but also teaches the graduate level plant nutrition course at NC State. His specialization is plant nutrition, plant growth regulators, and problem diagnostics. He brings over 30 year of experience in diagnosing grower plant problems.

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