Bleeding Heart Vine

Clerodendrum thomsoniae

The delicate beauty of bleeding heart vine belies its fast growth habit. It's one of the best fast growing vines for covering an arbor, trellis, pergola or that chain link fence.

bleeding heart vine decorates a trellis

It's a versatile plant because it will thrive and blossom almost anywhere in a landscape - from full sun to partial shade.

This vine blooms on and off all year - more in milder weather - with frilly clusters of snowy white heart-shaped flowers.

At first glance, it appears that each little blossom is tipped with a touch of scarlet. The white part is actually a flower "bract" from which a red flower emerges.

flower detail

Leaves are a soft dark green and contrast beautifully against the white. The foliage tends to stay darker, fuller and more lush in part shade. In full sun the leaf color fades to a medium green and growth is less dense, though you'll get more profuse flowering.

Bleeding heart is a "twiner" so be prepared to give it room to climb and grow without anything too near it that could be overtaken.

Though it's fast, this is not a vine that goes crazy-rampant like some others, but anything that sends out tendrils is looking for something to grow on, so give it a trellis or fence or other support to keep it in check.

Red flowering variety

There is a lesser-used red-flowering variety, with blooms that fade to pink and then purple.

The white bleeding heart flower bracts fade to a pinkish-lavender after the tiny red flower drops off, adding more color to the show.

Plant specs & spacing

These vines grow fast (though less so in shadier spots) and can take full sun to part shade.

They do best in Zone 10 in an area sheltered from wind.

If growing several along a fence, plant them 3 feet apart. Keep these vines at least 4 or 5 feet from the nearest shrub or tree.

white flowers with red tips

Plant care

Amend the soil by adding top soil or organic peat moss to the hole when you plant.

You can also add composted cow manure to the mix to enrich the soil around the vine's rootball.

Bleeding heart vine usually needs a hard pruning to keep it full and bushy and an ideal size.

Cut back hard in early spring and again if needed in early fall. You can do minor shape trimming anytime.

Water on a regular basis but don't keep the area overly wet.

Fertilize 3 times a year - in spring, summer and autumn - with a good granular fertilizer. Supplement feedings with bone meal and/or liquid fertilizer to promote heavier bloom.

A.K.A. (also known as): Glory Bower Vine


LANDSCAPE USES: fence, arbor, pergola, trellis, wall lattice

Other vines you might like: White Mandevilla, Rangoon Creeper

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