Bleeding Heart Vine

Botanical Name: Clerodendrum thomsoniae

Bleeding Heart Vine makes a beautiful flowering house plant. Train it on a trellis or prune it back -- you can grow it any way you like.

This tropical beauty is covered with attractive deeply veined, ovate leaves.

Its glory, however, are the eye-catching red and white flowers that bloom profusely from spring through fall. Made up of snowy white calyxes, the blooms are somewhat heart-shaped. Emerging from each calyx is a bright red flower with long stamens.

Unlike the popular shade-loving Bleeding Heart Plant, this vining plant is tropical and won't overwinter in the garden, unless you live in a tropical climate. Give it warmth, humidity and bright, indirect sunlight year-round.

Repot in spring only when it has outgrown its container. Bleeding heart blooms best when it is slightly pot-bound, so move it up to a pot only 1 size larger. Use a pot with drainage holes to prevent soggy soil.

Pruning Tip

Always prune above a leaf node (the place where a leaf is attached to the stem). Use sharp, clean pruning shears to avoid jagged tears and disease.

Prune vines back in spring, when the plant is beginning new growth. Flowers grow near the tips of new stems, so you'll get more blooms this way. You can cut the vines back by as much as half, if you want, to keep the plant small.

Raise the humidity if the relative humidity drops below 50%. You can place the pot on a tray of wet pebbles. Or mist the foliage with room-temperature water every day. Raising the humidity also helps to prevent spider mites from invading. Watch out for these pests, especially in winter when indoor air tends to get dry.

Give it a winter rest. This tropical bleeding heart plant is an evergreen perennial, but it may stop flowering in the fall and winter months and growth slows down. Water sparingly during this rest and stop fertilizing till spring when you see new growth on the plant.

Bleeding Heart Vine Care Tips

bleeding heart vine, clerodendrum thomsoniae
Photo credit: United States Botanic Garden

Origin: Tropical West Africa

Height: Up to 6 ft (1.8 m) if not pruned back

Light: Bright indirect light

Water: Keep soil evenly moist spring through fall, while bleeding heart plant is growing and flowering. Water sparingly in winter, but do not let it dry out completely.

Humidity: Moderate to high humidity

Temperature: Average to warm (65-85°F/18-29°C) year-round

Soil: Good-quality potting mix

Fertilizer: Feed every 2 weeks spring and summer with a high-phosphorus liquid fertilizer diluted by half.

Propagation: Easy to propagate from stem cuttings. Take 3 in (8 cm) stem tip cuttings in spring and root in equal parts all-purpose potting mix and perlite.

Green Thumb Tip

Bleeding heart is a prolific bloomer when it gets enough sunlight.

It blooms heavily in spring and summer. If it doesn't bloom much, move it to where it will get indirect light from a south- or west-facing window.

Buying Tip

Clerodendrum thomsoniae is usually known as Bleeding Heart Vine and sometimes as Glorybower.

As if this plant isn't showy enough, a variegated variety exists. C. thomsoniae 'Variegatum' features marbled green leaves.