Clerodendrum paniculatum [kler-oh-DEN-drum, pan-ick-yoo-LAY-tum] is a species of flowering plant known for its pyramidal inflorescences typically appearing in a bright shade of red-orange.
The pyramid-shaped cluster of flowers gave the plant its common name — the pagoda flower.
It belongs to the Lamiaceae family, often called the mint or sage family.
As with other plants in the Clerodendrum plant family, the pagoda flower also produces a lovely aroma.
It’s native to tropical areas in Asia, including parts of China and the Philippines.
The pagoda flower grows as a shrub and requires lots of space to spread.
It is also a relatively demanding plant needing proper care throughout the warmer months.
Clerodendrum Paniculatum Care
Size and Growth
Clerodendrum paniculatum produces semi-woody growth, eventually developing into an open shrub with large evergreen leaves.
The outer leaves may reach up to 12″ inches across and have heart-shaped bases.
Lower leaves are often smaller and lobed.
The leaves appear in opposite pairs on thick stems, typically branching from the roots instead of a trunk.
It’s a fast-growing plant reaching 3′ – 5′ feet tall with a 2′ – 3′ foot spread in a single year.
At the end of the year, the growth dies out, and the plant sprouts back in the spring.
Flowering and Fragrance
The pagoda flower blooms in early summer with flowers lasting through fall.
In frost-free regions, additional flowering may occur throughout the year.
The inflorescences can reach over a foot tall with individual tubular flowers measuring just under 1″ inch.
The flowers grow in a cluster with a broad base and narrow top, giving it the appearance of a pyramid or pagoda.
Light and Temperature
The pagoda flower is native to tropical regions and prefers warm, humid conditions and full sun.
It grows well in the American southeast in USDA hardiness zones 8 to 11.
It may not survive winters in regions consistently dropping below freezing.
In Zone 8 and areas averaging 10° – 20° degrees Fahrenheit (-12° – -6° C) during the winter, shield the plant from frost.
Add a layer of mulch over the plant after trimming back the dead foliage at the end of the year.
Watering and Feeding
The watering requirements for the pagoda plant vary throughout the year.
During the summer, it requires moist soil.
Water each week or whenever the surface of the soil dries out completely.
It also benefits from fertilizer during the summer.
Add liquid fertilizer to the water every week when grown in full sun and every two weeks when grown in partial shade.
Potted plants typically require more frequent watering.
Check the soil every other day, especially when using a clay pot.
When the plant goes dormant, it doesn’t need regular watering — only water during periods without any rainfall or when the foliage starts to wilt.
Soil and Transplanting
Use rich soil with good drainage. The pagoda plant carves nutrients and moisture but shouldn’t sit in soggy soil constantly.
Transplant potted plants every two to three years at the start of spring to refresh the soil.
Pruning the plant at the end of summer helps limit its size and encourages denser foliage and fuller blooms the following year.
Trim the plant back in the summer after the flowers begin to fall.
Only trim the plant back up to half its current size.
Learn about another Clerodendron the Harlequin glorybower.
How To Propagate Pagoda Flower
Propagate by division, stem cuttings, seeds, or suckers.
However, underdeveloped suckers may not provide the best results.
Stem cuttings allow for the selection of healthy stems.
Propagate in the summer after the flowers start to fade.
Plant cuttings in individual pots and place under full sun on a porch or near a sunny window.
Water regularly and transplant in the spring when new growth appears.
To propagate by division, dig up the soil around the root system and carefully remove the plant.
Separate the roots using pruning shears.
Plant in the same soil, spacing the plants at least 8′ – 10′ feet apart.
Pagoda Flower Pest or Disease Problems
Clerodendrum paniculatum is prone to infestations from aphids (plant lice), spider mites, and whiteflies, especially when grown indoors or in dry regions.
Check the plant regularly for signs of yellow leaves or unusual growth on the undersides of the leaves.
- If pests are detected, try spraying the plants a blast of water from a garden hose.
- Spray plants several times per week.
- If the pests remain, spray the plant using a homemade insecticidal soap.
- The pagoda flower isn’t considered invasive or toxic.
- However, it can grow quickly and may crowd out other plants.
- Additionally, ingesting parts of any plant may cause mild stomach discomfort.
- Avoid growing the plant in an area where dogs or children may try to eat the inflorescences and prune the plant in the summer to limit the growth.
Suggested Clerodendrum Paniculatum Uses
Clerodendrum paniculatum works well in a mixed garden.
The tall growth and bright inflorescences provide a great backdrop for shorter plants positioned closer to the border.