Gardening: Glory to clerodendrums

Gardening: Glory to clerodendrums

Clerodendrum bungei (or glory flower) is a very easy maintenance-free plant

Clerodendrums are a large group of deciduous and evergreen trees, shrubs and woody climbers that flower late in the year. Clerodendrum bungei (Glory Flower) is a variety, native to China, that we grow.

It is a plant that is fairly easy to grow as long as you give it a reasonable well drained soil, some shade from the hot sun and some moisture. It flourishes in the shade of large trees where it will grow into a vigorous suckering shrub producing numerous straight, deep-purple suckers around the parent plant. The real joy of this plant is its wonderful flower head that is produced from late summer to autumn. The flower is made up of pink petals with deep pink buds behind the petals and it’s this combination of two-tone colours that looks terrific. After flowering, prune these plants close to ground level to produce a multi-stemmed shrub that will produce more flowers the following year. It grows about six feet tall and produces large heart-shaped leaves. The leaves have an unpleasant smell when rubbed.

Clerodendrum thomsoniae is a tender variety, suitable for the greenhouse. It is a twining, evergreen climber that produces white, bell-shaped flowers with a crimson tip in summer. Clerodendrum trichotomum is a bushy, deciduous shrub that will grow outside in the garden. From late summer to autumn it produces white flowers with red sepals.

Conservatory Plant

Bougainvillea is a plant from South America. The plant is widely cultivated as a house plant in cool climates. In the tropical rainforests the plant can grow over 30 feet tall. The leaves are dark green in colour and look like ivy leaves. The stems contain sharp thorns which the plant use to cling and hold onto other plants for support. The flowers range in colour from pink to red, to orange, to white and yellow. The plant can be placed outside in summer, the ideal place for it is a sunny, sheltered spot. In warm weather check the plant daily for water, do not allow the root-ball to dry out. Besides water a bougainvillea also needs fertiliser once a fortnight, use a slow-release fertiliser. During the winter make sure the roots are not too wet or too dry.

Winter Protection

To avoid the frost damage of last winter now is the time to give some protection to our tender plants. Cold weather and particularly frost, causes the water in plant cells to freeze, damaging the cell wall of plants. Frost damaged plants are easy to see, their growth becomes limp and blackened. Frost problems are often made worse where the plants face the morning sun, this makes the plants defrost quickly and damages the structure of the plants. Hardy plants and tough evergreens can also be damaged by long spells of frost. In this case the roots are unable to take up water and plants will die from lack of moisture, a winter mulch will help to prevent frost getting at the roots. Periods of cold, frosty and easterly winds during April and May can also kill new growth, blossoms and fruit.

In recent years we are growing an ever increasing number of tender plants that will not withstand a sustained period of frost without some form of protection. We cover the top of the trunks of our tree ferns, Dicksonia antartica, with fibreglass insulation, we also put some fibreglass into the crown.

The crown at the top of the trunk is the most vulnerable part of the plant. Tree ferns are slow growing and expensive plants to buy so it is well worth protecting them from frost. Tender cordylines and palms can be protected in the same way. Protect tender rock garden plants with a layer of gravel or grit to ensure swift drainage of water away from the leaves.

Garden Club Notices

The Limerick Flower and Garden Club would like to give advanced notice that they will be hosting a Christmas Gala Night on Tuesday, November 13 at the Greenhills Hotel. Doors will open at 7:30pm and non-members are welcome (admission €10). This year the Garden Club are proud to be supporting Pieta House.

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