I was fortunate to accompany my friend, Kerry Mendez, on a recent garden tour where we were both stopped in our tracks by the most beautiful shrub. As we fumbled for our phones to takes pictures we asked the homeowner its name. Clerondendrum, or Harlequin Glorybower.
The name felt vaguely familiar but I could not recall it from the catalogs I routinely poured through. Apparently, it is hard to come by; which made me want it even more.
I did some research to find out if this beauty would do well in my garden.
Clerondendrum needs full sun (yes!) and grows between 10-15 feet tall and wide (no problem). It is covered with fragrant jasmine-like flowers in late summer (great!) which are followed by bright blue berries accented by pinkish-red calyxes (even better). When bruised, the leaves are thought to smell like peanut butter (I like peanut butter) which explains clerodendrum’s other common name, Peanut Butter Tree.
Clerodendrum can be marginally hardy in zone 6 (I will site it near a wall) but if it suffers dieback it will most likely rebound in spring.
It looks like I need to go on the great plant hunt to find a clerondendrum. If you spot one, please let me know.