New to our Sunnyvale garden in 2019 is Clerodendrum ugandense (aka Butterfly Bush). Note: There are over a dozen different plants with the common name of Butterfly Bush. Clerodendrum is an open, evergreen shrub reaching 6 to 10 feet tall by 6 feet wide with 4 inch long dark green glossy leaves. From spring through fall appear the delicate and intricate flowers, suggestive of a butterfly in flight. To create this illusion the flower has four petals of light blue color (the wings) with a bottom petal of violet blue (the body) and the pistil and stamens arching outward and upward (the antennae). Black, fleshy fruit follows the spring blooms.
Plant in part to full (coastal) sun and irrigate regularly. Hardy to about 20-25 degrees F. Can be pruned back continually to keep the plant more compact.
This species from East Africa (originally described from Kenya and not Uganda) will take rather cooler conditions than most tropical clerodendrums. This plant was originally described as Clerodendrum ugandense by Prian in 1909 but more recent treatment listed it as Clerodendrum myricoides or Clerodendrum myricoides ‘Ugandense’ and most recently as Rotheca myricoides.
Habit and Cultural Information
- Category: Shrub
- Family: Verbenaceae (Vervains)
- Origin: Africa, Central (Africa)
- Evergreen: Yes
- Flower Color: Light Blue
- Bloomtime: Spring/Fall
- Best in shade or semi-shade
- Synonyms: [Rotheca myricoides, C. myricoides ‘Ugandense’]
- Height: 6-8 feet
- Width: 6-8 feet
- Exposure: Light Shade/Part Sun
- Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
- Winter Hardiness: 20-25° F
- Prune to keep tidy