Q: Last May my husband and I were on vacation in Naples, Florida. Our condo courtyard had a particular climbing plant called bleeding heart, with beautiful dark green leaves and white flowers. I dug up some baby plants and they are doing fine in my landscape. One of my reference books says bleeding heart is hardy to Zone 2 but the vine looks tropical to me.
A: Ah ha! You don’t have bleeding heart, Dicentra spp., you have bleeding heart vine, Clerodendrum thomsoniae. This vine is definitely not winter-hardy in north Georgia but thrives in Florida. In fact, it grows so readily that it can become invasive. This isn’t surprising, since its cousins, harlequin glorybower, Clerodendron trichotomum and peanut butter plant, Clerodendron bungei, often become unwelcome in Georgia gardens. Both send up sucker sprouts profusely around the original plant. You can try cutting your vine back to a few feet high in November and bringing it indoors for the winter but it won’t send out new leaves until May.