heart-shaped leaves and a cluster of a hundred salmon
coral flowers in a pagoda-shaped panicle make the
Starshine clerodendrum among the most exotic shrubs for
the tropical garden. I first saw this variety a few
years ago at the Universtiy of Georgia Plant Trials in
Athens, Ga. I knew if I was seeing it there it had
dynamite potential in many parts of the country. It does
and, as expected, it is growing superbly at the Coastal
Georgia Botanical Gardens in Savannah, Ga., too.
is a variety of Clerodendrum paniculatum native to
Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka and Malaysia. I have always
been a Clerodendrum nut even loving those that others
considered invasive. When I first started writing,
Clerodendrums were in the verbena family but as
technology advanced it necessitated the move a few years
ago to the Lamiaceae or mint family.
like the other pagoda flowers you might find, are
cold-hardy from zones 8-11. In frost free areas you will
find some gardeners who think the voluntary spread is
not worth it, but most treasure the tropical appeal. In
zone 8 it will freeze to the ground and return with
vigor in the spring. It will be blooming by mid-summer
and keep it up until frost.
of you in colder zones may want to try it on the south
side of your home or other protected micro-climate with
an added layer of mulch, and if you get a spring return,
consider it an added bonus. You can do what we are doing
for another clerodendrum I love by the name of Java
glorybower is known botanically as Clerodendrum
speciosissimum and as the name suggest is native to
Java. Bright scarlet-red flowers are produced on large
panicles that are flattened on top versus the pagoda
shape of Starshine.
are growing ours in a raised planter or box that is
about 36 inches off the ground. Around the base of the
shrub we are growing frogfruit, Phyla nodiflora, whose
tiny white flowers bring in small bees and butterflies.
Growing in a planter box signifies it will be treated as
an annual or dug and placed somewhere else when we
switch out to pansies and dianthus for winter. Know that
to me, both of these clerodendums would be worthy
annuals in the garden with the same mindset one has for
a petunia basket or perhaps a tropical hibiscus.
you find yours, plant in a bed where the soil is fertile
and organic rich. Though I have seen both performing in
full sun, I like their look where they get a little
afternoon shade or filtered light. This protection from
our intense afternoon sun seems to produce a much-lusher
specimen, reminiscent of the islands.
are not tiny plants. Iíve seen pagoda flowers well
above a 6-foot stockade fence and know the Java
glorybower can match. They will spread outward forming a
clump and exhibiting enormous leaves that simply adds to
the tropical motif, so give them adequate room.
are loved by butterflies and hummingbirds, so as you are
choosing companions consider other such plants for both
the look of paradise and those that will bring in the
pollinators. Good choices would be Bengal Tiger cannas,
Amistad salvia and tropical hibiscus. Plants like
elephant ears and bananas with their coarse texture
foliage will also enhance your corner of paradise.