Clerodendrum thomsoniae: Bleeding heart vine

Family: Lamiaceae
Common name: Bleeding heart vine, Bleeding vine heart, Bleeding glory bower, Glory bower, Bagflower, Glory tree, Tropical bleeding heart

Bleeding heart vines are one of the best climbing plants you can grow in your garden, climbing on pergolas, trellises, garden structures, or terrace railings. These lovely plants grow thick and strong, flowering almost throughout the year in warm, tropical weather.

Leaves are glossy, dark green with entire margins and a deep venation. They are 10-15 cm long, and 5-7 cm wide, arranged opposite to each other. The stem is reddish brown producing thin, long vines towards the tip.

What makes the bleeding heart vine plants very colorful are their bright, cup-like calyxes that are white in color, gradually turning pink, magenta, and purple before they dry up.

The flowers grow in large bunches, covering the plant with bright, beautiful blooms. Flowers are deep pink or red in color, with 5 petals, long, white stamens, and style. Though the flowers are short-lived, the calyxes stay on the plant for a long time keeping the plant beautiful and blooming throughout the year.

Bleeding heart vine’s bright, beautiful flowers are very attractive to bees, insects, and small birds that help pollinate them. After pollination, the plant produces small fruits that turn from red to black color, nestled inside the calyxes. These fruits contain small, oblong seeds.

These plants are quite sturdy and low maintenance, growing well under extreme weather conditions. They need abundant sunlight to bloom and well-drained soil. These versatile plants do well as hanging plants, bushes, or climbers growing rapidly covering large areas in a short time.

Bleeding heart vines can grow 3-4 meters in length, but they can also be pruned severely to remove long, gangly branches that don’t have many leaves. In fact, it’s ideal to prune the plants well after the blooming season, to let them grow thick and bushy.

Propagation is through seeds and stem cuttings, both of them very effective and quick.