Turk’s Turban

“Turk’s Turban”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

A new plant for the garden.

Last fall, when I attended the Garden Show at the New Orleans Botanical Gardens,  I saw this spectacular, towering herbaceous shrub.  It took a little detective work before finding out it was Clerodendrum indicum or Turk’s Turban, skyrocket, or tubeflower.  Luckily, (for me) they had some for sale and one came home with me.  It was in a gallon pot and about two feet high, so I felt I needed to wait until spring to plant it in the garden.

This spring I planted it, and it grew slowly until about July and then it took off.  I see now why one of its common names is sky rocket.  It was hard taking a photograph of the flowers because of the height.  It is about ten feet high with these huge inflorescence (about 16 inches long) with wonderful creamy flowers.  The flowers are on short tube-like stems and droop down so they are very visible.  The sepals will turn a deep red and remain on the plant through winter, and the seeds are also supposed to turn from green to a metallic blue.  The plant I purchased had the red sepals but not the seeds, so I can’t wait to see the red and blue together.

These plants are only hardy to zone 8, and I think that it may freeze to the ground here.  Even though I am located in south Louisiana, we can get some killing frosts.  I plan on mulching it heavily, like I do some of the other clerodendrum I have.

Butterflies and hummingbirds are supposed to love this plant, but I haven’t seen any hovering around mine, yet.  I am hoping that it continues to bloom until frost.  For an absolutely stunning plant, this towering shrub can’t be beat.

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6 Comments

  1. tina said,

    September 25, 2008 at 6:02 am

    Such a nice plant and great you now have it growing in your garden! It must really like hot weather to wait so long. I hope it overwinters for you.

  2. Racquel said,

    September 25, 2008 at 7:24 am

    What an interesting looking shrub Jan.

  3. Eve said,

    September 25, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    I always keep a pad by my computer so when I come across a post like this, I can write down the name. They sound wonderful and should do well for me here on the MS Gulf Coast. I am 8b..

  4. Jan said,

    September 25, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    Tina, I think it should overwinter here without any problems. Next year, it should have even more stalks which will make a fantastic showing. I wish I could have taken better pictures, but the stalks are so tall it is hard to have them show up.

    Racquel, the first one I saw was huge. It took up a space about 4×4 feet and about 10 feet tall with big billowy clusters of flowers. Not your typical shrub.

    Eve, it should do okay for you on the Gulf Coast. If I get any seeds this year, do you want any? Let me know.

  5. Anna said,

    September 25, 2008 at 8:20 pm

    It looks like fireworks to me! I’ll look for it in the spring. It will die back here in my zone 7 garden but it is worth it. I hope yours makes it.

  6. Jan said,

    September 26, 2008 at 4:26 am

    You are right, Anna, it does look like an explosion of fireworks. I am sure it will survive here, I’ll just make sure to mulch it heavily.


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