Clerodendrum ugandense, also called Rotheca myricoides, and commonly known as Blue Butterfly Bush, is a wonderful plant to have at home. It’s not a fussy, high requirement plant, and it’s very rewarding to have. The flowers sport two hues of blue and truly resemble butterflies, especially the way they flock around the plant.
The Blue Butterfly Bush requires warmth and light to flower. It flowers heavily during the warm months, and even if you cannot provide enough light and warmth during the winter time it might sporadically flower anyway. In the winter I grow mine next to a west facing window with additional grow lights and it’s doing great. In my experience it’s a very easy to grow plant, virtually pest free, and the only downside is that it can get quite leggy when not pruned.
The plant itself is an average looking bush with light bark and ordinary looking leaves. The leaves have a bit of a peppery smell to them, and that’s probably the reason why this plant is quite resistant to bug infestations. The flowers are relatively small, but the way they are positioned around the plant (like flocking butterflies) and the fact that they are quite numerous, makes up for it. It can survive down to 20°F, and sprout back from the root ball, but if grown indoors it’s evergreen and with enough light everblooming.
Clerodendrum ugandense has average watering needs. In the hot summer months, I would recommend keeping the soil evenly moist, while during the colder months it will be better to let it dry out a bit between watering to prevent root rot.
Full sun to partial shade is ideal for this plant. Full sun will help get fuller growth and more flowers, though it will flower and grow well at partial sun as well. South/east or west windows are ideal for it. I grow mine on a west facing window and supplement it with grow lights to get a more uniform growth. You can take your plant outside during the warm months for best results. If you do bring your plant back indoors and provide enough light it will flower year round.
Higher humidity is preferable, though this plant can tolerate lower humidity as well. For best results, grow on a humidity tray or next to other humidity loving plants.
Soil Type and Fertilizer:
Clerodendrum ugandense doesn’t seem to have any special preference about the soil type. I grow mine in generic potting mix with extra sand/per-lite added to it and a bit of peat moss. It’s a moderate feeder, and requires regular fertilizing from spring to fall. A generic fertilizer should be fine. As usual I would suggest fertilizing with more diluted than the recommended solution.
The butterfly bush can be easily propagated though cuttings, and it does sprout suckers once the plant is well established. Very easy to propagate and share with friends.
Other Care Tips and Personal Observations:
Clerodendrum ugandense seems to flower at the tips or new growth. Feel free to trim it anytime it seems to be growing out of proportion. I think the flowers look the best when the stems are hanging out and down, they seem to stand out more that way. I would say this plant is more of a vine-like bush and it will benefit from having some support or having it’s branches braided in a way. I will try to shape mine like a small willow tree, I think that would be the best way to showcase those wonderful little flowers.