The large flower clusters and leaves of this Clerodendron bear a resemblence to those of the French hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla) inspiring its common name Mexican hydrangea (even though it is from Asia and not actually related to the hydrangeas). Click to download a large version of this image for a closer look.
Rose glory bower is a deciduous shrub that spreads aggressively by sending up suckers all around itself. The upright, minimally branched, shoots can get 6 ft (1 m) tall and they have opposite, oval shaped leaves, to 12 in (30 cm) long, with long petioles and coarse marginal teeth. The leaves have a strong musky, but not unpleasant, smell. The rose colored flowers are in rounded clusters 8 in (20 cm) across and carried above the leaves. Individual flowers are funnel shaped with five spreading petal-like lobes. The flowers are very fragrant and last from summer until first frost. In winter, the upright stems, mostly devoid of branches, are not very attractive and may appear to be dead.
Location Clerodendrum bungei is native to China and northern India. The invasive nature of rose glory bower has allowed it to become established in numerous areas throughout South America, Mexico, Florida and other southern states.
Culture Light: Glory bower grows best in full sun but does pretty well in partial shade. Moisture: Established glory bowers are tolerant of drought. They are hard to kill! Hardiness: USDA Zones 7-11. Propagation: Propagation of glory bower is easy. Tip cuttings root readily. Suckers can be dug up and repositioned. Pieces of root can be dug up and replanted. Or, you can just wait a few weeks and it will probably propagate itself all over the place.
This rose glory bower is infesting a country roadside where pieces of plant where dumped. This is a pretty plant with bad manners - think twice before inviting it into your garden! Click to download a large version (800x600) of this image.
Use glory bower in your landscape at your own risk. It will surely spread. I confine my stands to isolated beds that are surrounded by lawn where no plants taller than 6 in (15 cm) can escape the savage, if dull, blades of my trusty lawn mower. Others keep them in containers. Once incarcerated, rose glory bower is a beautiful landscape flower and one that attracts butterflies, both as a nectar source for adults, and a food plant for the caterpillars of several species. Some states may ban the sale and propagation of rose glory bower.
Floridata has profiles on six different species in this popular genus. Check out the others by using the plant list feature.
WARNING Clerodendrum bungei usually becomes invasive by suckering. Be sure to keep this plant contained. Even goats won't eat it!