The other hardy clerodendrum: C. bungei

clerodendrum bun2

Here we are with another plant I saw at Lismore castle. Like yesterday’s romneya, it is a delightful plant for late summer colour and, unfortunately, is rather invasive. But this has a very different look and has a long season of blooms in brightest pink with a wonderful perfume.

I have never known anyone use a common name for Clerodendrum bungei but apparently it is sometimes called Mexican hydrangea, which is odd since it comes from Northern India, or Kashmir bouquet which at least has some geographic accuracy. It is a slightly tender shrub that acts almost as a herbaceous plant in the typical northern European climate. From a spreading rootstock it sends up many vertical, rarely branching stems that are dark purple or almost black with pairs of large (about 25cm across) softly hairy, heartshaped leaves that are rich green and flushed with burgundy, especially in the shoot tips. In rich soil these stems can reach 1.5m or more before the head of deep pink buds appears in their tips and, usually, by August the first flowers are opening. They are  delicious pink colour and wonderfully fragrant, a pleasing contrast to the odour of the leaves which is slightly unpleasant. Not only do humans like the smell of the flowers but butterflies like them too.

I call this ‘the other clerodendrum’ because the most desirable is probably C. trichotomum which is a small tree with clusters of heavily perfumed white flowers about now but which is most admired for the display of turquoise seeds set in crimson calyces that follow if we get a decent autumn. It can be a truly beautiful small tree if planted in a sheltered, sunny spot in sandy soil but I find it can be a but tricky to please.

As soon as frost touches the plants the leaves dissolve and the plant looks pretty unpleasant in winter. Although the stems can sprout if the winter is mild it is best to cut all the stems down in spring and then give the clump a good mulch of compost to keep it growing strongly. In a warm, sunny spot in well drained soil it is an easy and rewarding plant but it will sucker and spread – you have been warned.

clerodendrum bun

Geoff’s rating

9/10 – despite the spreading habit

Garden rating

7/10 – not everyone is as forgiving as me

 

, , ,

5 Comments on “The other hardy clerodendrum: C. bungei”

  1. derrickjknight
    September 12, 2015 at 7:36 am #

    We have a trichotomum

  2. Meriel
    September 13, 2015 at 12:13 pm #

    Nice to be reminded of Clerodendron bungee. Another casualty some years ago. Perhaps time I tried again, though not a plant one comes across much in garden centres. I think it may be a bit tender/ tricky too.

    • thebikinggardener
      September 15, 2015 at 5:40 pm #

      It is supposed to be a bit tender but I have always had it come through cold winters. Should be deer proof with those smelly leaves I would have thought

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Ravenscourt Gardens

Learning life's lessons in the garden!

One Good Life in Los Angeles

Roslyn's observations about places and events around Southern California

IGPS Blog

The Irish Garden Plant Society - Lovers of Irish plants and gardens

AltroVerde

un altro blog sul giardinaggio...

vegetablurb

four decades of organic vegetable gardening and barely a clue

The Long Garden Path

A walk round the Estate!

Flowery Prose

Sheryl Normandeau's growing words....

ontheedgegardening

Gardening on the edge of a cliff

Uprooted Magnolia

I am a freelance Photographer born and raised in the Southeast. I have uprooted my life in Macon Georgia for a new life as an unlikely cowgirl in love with a handsome cowboy in Wyoming. I hope you enjoy my photo journal on life, love, and the spirit of Wyoming.

Interesting Literature

A Library of Literary Interestingness

Garden Variety

A Gardening, Outdoor Lifestyle and Organic Food & Drink Blog

For the Love of Iris

Articles, Tips and Notes from Schreiner's Iris Gardens

One Bean Row

Words and pictures from an Irish garden by Jane Powers

Plant Heritage

The world's leading garden plant conservation charity

HERITAGE IRISES

An English experience of gardening in Ireland - and back in the UK

%d bloggers like this: