Clerodendrum thompsoniae ‘Variegata’, commonly known as the Variegated Bleeding Heart vine, is a versatile, deeply variegated ovate creamy white and pale green leaves with eye-catching white and red bleeding heart blooms.
A native of tropical Central Africa, the Variegated Bleeding Heart vine is an easy-to-grow ornamental plant that can be planted outdoors or in a container indoors to add life, color, and comfort to any space.
In this care guide, we’ll take an in-depth look into the conditions that can allow Variegated Bleeding Heart vines to thrive. We’ll also offer you some maintenance tips that’ll help your vine grow and bloom beautifully, so be sure to stick around!
Growing Variegated Bleeding Heart Vine
One of the appeals of growing Variegated Bleeding Heart vines is that they’re easy to take care of. Nevertheless, creating an ideal environment for a Variegated Bleeding Heart vine can increase its growth rate, enhance its health, and produce vibrant flowers.
Variegated Bleeding Heart vines can handle from full sun to partial shade. However, they perform best in partial shade or filtered light.
Bleeding Heart vines are prolific bloomers in spring and summer when they receive enough indirect sunlight. If your plant isn’t blooming much, try moving it to a south or west-facing window.
In cool and moist climates, the Variegated Bleeding Heart can tolerate a couple of hours in full direct sunlight. Still, it may need two to three hours without direct sun, particularly at noon when the sun is at its highest.
If a Variegated Bleeding Heart vine is exposed to heat and light simultaneously, its leaves may turn yellow and even fall off.
Temperature and Humidity
A Variegated Bleeding Heart vine will thrive in warm temperatures and high humidity that are similar to its native environment. The ideal temperature for this vine is between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit with at least 60% humidity.
Variegated Bleeding Hearts vines are tropical plants, so they need protection from colder weather. If you live in an area where temperatures drop below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, you’ll need to take some precautions.
If your vine is grown outdoors, bring it inside when the temperatures drop. It may shed its leaves in cooler weather, but that’s normal for a Bleeding Heart.
If, on the other hand, you keep the vine indoors, keep the room temperature between average and warm.
Because indoor air can become dry, you can use a pebble tray or a cool-mist humidifier to raise the humidity to an appropriate level.
Variegated Bleeding Heart vines prefer moist soil all year-round. They’re not drought-tolerant at all. What’s more, as these vines grow and mature their water requirements increase.
That’s why they need to be watered regularly, enough to keep the soil moist to the touch but not sodden.
In most cases, you’ll need to water the plant at least once a week, if not more. Allow the soil to reach a state of visual dryness between waterings to avoid saturating it with water.
A Variegated Bleeding Heart may have a higher demand for water in dry warm weather, so it should be checked for dryness once a day.
When the plant goes dormant, water is just enough to keep the soil from drying out until new growth appears.
Keep in mind that overwatering can result in a variety of problems, including leaf fading and yellowing, as well as limp leaves. Underwatering can result in fading and limp leaves as well.
Substrate and Fertilizer
Variegated Bleeding Hearts aren’t picky about their substrate as long as it’s rich, fertile, and well-draining.
As for fertilization, these vines need heavy feeding during the growing season to produce robust flowers.
Under high light conditions, Variegated Bleeding Heart vines are heavy feeders and rapid growers.
During the growing season, feed the plant a slow-release fertilizer every two months or a water-soluble fertilizer every two weeks.
On the other hand, withhold fertilizer completely during the plant’s state of dormancy.
Maintaining Variegated Bleeding Heart Vine
If left to their own devices, Variegated Bleeding Heart vines can grow to be so large that they won’t fit well indoors, especially during the growing season.
As a result, you may need to prune, transplant, repot and propagate your Variegated Bleeding Heart from time to time.
The best time to prune Variegated Bleeding Heart vines is right before new growth appears, which is from late winter to early spring.
Prune any wayward growth and winter damage to allow room for new growth in the blooming season. Bleeding Heart flowers often grow near the tips of new stems, so you can get more blooming yield by pruning the plant.
You can also lightly prune the plant throughout the blooming cycle. Pruning will allow you to keep the plant at a manageable size.
Don’t worry about over-pruning your plant. Variegated Bleeding Heart vines tolerate heavy pruning and thrive when old growth is removed.
Remember to always cut a few inches above a leaf node (the place where leaves, buds, and branching twigs). You should also always use sharp, disinfected pruning shears to avoid making jagged tears or infecting the plant with the disease.
Propagating Variegated Bleeding Heart is a fun, inexpensive, and easy way to increase your Bleeding Heart collection from plants you already have.
All you need from your Variegated Bleeding Heart is stem cutting. Look for a long, healthy shoot with plenty of leaves and a pliant stem.
Here’s how to propagate the Variegated Bleeding Heart vine step by step:
- Grab the stem, measure back two to three inches from the stem, and cut with pruning shears 3/4 inch below the node where the roots will grow
- Prune all of the leaves on the bottom third of the stem cutting to expose the growth nodes
- Dip the leafless part of the stem in some water and roll the bottom few inches in rooting hormone until a thin layer forms
- Fill a container with equal parts of all-purpose potting mix and perlite
- Make a large enough hole in the soil to prevent the rooting hormone from being rubbed off as you plant the stem cutting
- Tamp down the soil firmly against the stem to increase root-soil contact and remove any air pockets
- Water the soil lightly, but just enough to make it moist to touch
- Place the newly potted cutting somewhere warm with filtered light
- Mist the stem cutting daily
- Check for roots in four to six weeks by gently tugging on the stem’s base
- Move the container to a bright area outdoors with no direct sunlight
When the Variegated Bleeding Heart vine shows noticeable growth, you can transplant it into a permanent container.
The best time to propagate a Variegated Bleeding Heart vine is after the flowers fade in early summer but before the plant goes dormant due to hot weather.
You can also propagate the Bleeding Heart after the leaves emerge but before the flower buds form in early spring.
Transplanting and Repotting
Variegated Bleeding Heart vines will only require to be transplanted and repotted if they have outgrown their containers. Other than that, they bloom best when they’re slightly root-bound.
Keep in mind that Variegated Bleeding Heart vines, like many other plants, experience stress, and shock when transplanted and repotted. That’s why you should do so only in spring so that your plant can recover quickly.
Variegated Bleeding Heart Vine Pests and Diseases
Although Variegated Bleeding Heart vines are resistant to pests and diseases, prolonged poor conditions create the perfect environment for unwanted insects and fungi.
Mealybugs, spider mites, whiteflies, and aphids are some of the pests that can infect a Variegated Bleeding Heart vine. These pests latch onto the vine and damage it until the plant withers. They can cause leaf discoloration, stem deformation, and wilting.
The first step to protecting your Bleeding Heart plant from an infestation is to regularly check the leaves’ undersides, where they often start.
If you find any pests, you can get rid of them by spraying the plant with neem oil or insecticidal soap spray.
In addition, raising the humidity can prevent spider mites from invading the plant.
The one disease that Variegated Bleeding Heart vines are susceptible to is root rot, which is the result of poor-draining soil and excess moisture.
Root rot may cause leaf yellowing and browning as well as cause an acrid smell similar to rotten eggs.
Plant a Variegated Bleeding Heart in well-drained soil and water it only when the soil is slightly dry to avoid root rot.
The Variegated Bleeding Heart vine adds a one-of-a-kind touch to your space. Whether used outdoors or indoors, the vine works well in a container as a hanging basket ornament, garden plant, or whatever you desire.
This versatility isn’t the only reason you should have a Variegated Bleeding Heart. The vine is also incredibly easy to take care of.
Place it in bright indirect light, water it enough to moist the soil, feed it fertilizer when it needs to, and your Variegated Bleeding Heart vine will thrive.
When you provide a Variegated Bleeding Heart with these ideal conditions, it’ll produce magnificent and plentiful red and white blooms.
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