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Clerodendrum nutans

Clerodendrum nutans

(Nodding clerodendrum)

There is no need to mourn the end of summer when splendid autumn flowerers like Clerodendrum nutans fill the gap with their distinctive beauty. This 2,5m shrub or semi-climber, originally from the Himalayas, produces bowers of creamy white flowers from the long clusters of buds that form at the end of the branches. It grows best in semi-shade and looks particularly lovely if planted against a wall and allowed to cascade down. Although the flowers have no discernable scent, their striking display attracts many pollinators to the garden. The fruit is also eye-catching, taking the form of green berries framed by a star that turns bright red as the berries ripen, while the berries stay green. The evergreen foliage is a bright, glossy green that is an asset throughout the year.

It grows well in subtropical areas, like KwaZulu-Natal and, although it is regarded as frost tender, it also does well in Pretoria and Johannesburg. In the latter areas it should be protected in winter.

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