Rotheca, Butterfly Bush, Cambridge Bush, Oxford Bush 'Ugandense'

Rotheca myricoides

Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Rotheca (roth-EE-kuh) (Info)
Species: myricoides (mir-ih-KOY-deez) (Info)
Cultivar: Ugandense



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade



Foliage Color:



8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)


8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)


USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction


Bloom Color:

Light Blue


Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall

Late Fall/Early Winter

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From softwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Foley, Alabama

Prattville, Alabama

Robertsdale, Alabama

Mesa, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Tempe, Arizona

American Canyon, California

Burlingame, California

Chowchilla, California

Clayton, California

Concord, California

El Cajon, California

Encinitas, California

Fairfield, California

Fremont, California

Glendale, California

Granite Hills, California

Grover Beach, California

Harbison Canyon, California

Hemet, California

La Grange, California

Lompoc, California

Los Angeles, California

Newport Beach, California

Rancho San Diego, California

San Diego, California

San Jose, California

San Leandro, California

Santa Cruz, California

Sonoma, California

Bartow, Florida

Big Pine Key, Florida

Boca Raton, Florida

Bonita Springs, Florida

Bradley, Florida

Brooksville, Florida

Clearwater, Florida

Deland, Florida

Dunnellon, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida(2 reports)

Fort Myers, Florida

Gainesville, Florida(2 reports)

Groveland, Florida

Hollywood, Florida

Inverness, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Keystone Heights, Florida

Kissimmee, Florida

Lake City, Florida

Lutz, Florida

Lynn Haven, Florida

Naples, Florida

Niceville, Florida

Oakland, Florida

Ocala, Florida

Ocoee, Florida

Oldsmar, Florida

Panama City, Florida

Plant City, Florida

Pompano Beach, Florida

Port Charlotte, Florida

Port Saint Lucie, Florida

Saint Petersburg, Florida

Sebring, Florida

Titusville, Florida

Wellborn, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida(2 reports)

Zephyrhills, Florida

Cordele, Georgia

Lake Park, Georgia

Lizella, Georgia

Rincon, Georgia

Hawaiian Paradise Park, Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii

Keaau, Hawaii

Orchidlands Estates, Hawaii

Derby, Kansas

Barbourville, Kentucky

Baton Rouge, Louisiana(2 reports)

Des Allemands, Louisiana

Lake Charles, Louisiana

Marrero, Louisiana

Thibodaux, Louisiana

Zachary, Louisiana

Columbia, Mississippi

Mathiston, Mississippi

Ocean Springs, Mississippi(2 reports)

Saucier, Mississippi

Averill Park, New York

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Rutherfordton, North Carolina

Wilmington, North Carolina

Albany, Oregon

Ephrata, Pennsylvania

Bluffton, South Carolina

Conway, South Carolina

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Lexington, South Carolina

Okatie, South Carolina

Summerville, South Carolina

Alice, Texas

Austin, Texas

Bedias, Texas

College Station, Texas

Desoto, Texas

Galveston, Texas

Georgetown, Texas

Grapeland, Texas

Hallettsville, Texas

Houston, Texas(6 reports)

La Porte, Texas(2 reports)

Lake Jackson, Texas

Missouri City, Texas

New Braunfels, Texas

Rosenberg, Texas(2 reports)

San Antonio, Texas

Shepherd, Texas

Spring, Texas(2 reports)

Willis, Texas

Amelia Court House, Virginia

Chesapeake, Virginia

Petersburg, Virginia

Cathcart, Washington

Kalama, Washington

Maltby, Washington

South Hill, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Aug 20, 2019, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

This species is native to East Africa where it is a broadleaf evergreen shrub about 6 to 10 feet high. In recent times it has come into use in temperate climates used as a big annual flower usually about 2 to 3 feet high. It is a new plant to me. I've only seen it so far in large pots on the downtown streets of Ephrata, Pennsylvania with big Coleus for sun plants next to them. They were doing fine in full sun in the pots, but part-shade is recommended as the best siting, probably keeping the flowers darker in color. It is one of those special, uncommon annuals that one only can find at some large, diverse, conventional nursery or greenhouse; not in big box stores or Home Depot-Lowes.


On Jun 8, 2018, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have had this plant since 2005 growing in a large container. In the winter, I trim it back and wrap it and the container in a thick comforter when we are going to have a hard freeze. Over the years, I have placed it in different locations in my yard. It didn't like full sun in the heat of summer (wilted everyday almost) or full shade (not as many blooms). Mine likes morning sun and afternoon partial to full shade. I have never trimmed it back before and have to stake the stems. I am going to try trimming the stems this year to make it bushier with more blooms. It is one of my favorite plants.


On Aug 20, 2015, Oneoeverything from Holt, MO wrote:

I am confused. I live in zone 5b of Missouri. I have a plant very much like this bush, however its flowers have a mottled blue lower petal, light blue others. I love it. It's grown here for at least 5 years outside, about 3 ft tall, flowers are small, maybe 3/4 inch. I was wanting to buy some more of them, but only found the tropical ones. Took some pictures today. What do I have?


On Nov 15, 2013, samburuplants from archers post,
Kenya wrote:

This is a highly important medicinal plant for the Samburu people of Kenya. My team is trying to produce a small plant guide to help preserve cultural information regarding this and other species. Unfortunately, none of the wild plants were in flower when we were at out field site. Would anyone be able to send me a photo of the flowers of Clerodendrum myricoides that I could include in our plant guide?(include any informational you would like me to put in the acknowledements aswell). My facebook page is "Samburu Plants" -thank you


On May 24, 2012, Eleonora69 from Toronto,
Canada wrote:

I bout this plant 1 month ago at , it is 2' only but nonstop bloomer. I keep it in shade on my balcony and give some Calcium with fertilizer. Hire in Canada, when the winter'll come, I'll put it on my window. Easy to maintain but I think it doesn't like direct sun during the summer and cold air as well.
No picture can show the beauty of this plant. It is so delicate for touch and for yes. All my friend admire it too . Excellent houseplant!


On Oct 10, 2010, ruthmary from auckland,
New Zealand wrote:

I found this plant growing in a public garden in NZ, so being very keen on it I waited until the seeds were ripe and 'stole' some. I washed off the soft outer part and dried the inner hard seed which I then kept for maybe six months until we had moved to our new house. They germinated well and I had a lovely collection of plants. Unfortunately due to moving around I have lost all my plants and am currently trying to find a supplier. It does well here in New Zealand in the North Island where we are virtually frost free, though where I got the seed from sometimes had quite heavy frost, and it abviously survived ok.


On May 12, 2010, Sunrise_Garden from Gainesville, FL wrote:

Wow, I hate to be a party pooper, but my experience with this plant in Central Florida hasn't been nearly as positive. Perhaps ours didn't receive enough direct sun (about 5 hours a day), but it didn't put out flowers until right before the frost. I did not fertilize it, so any it received was left from the orginal potting soil it came in (it grew lots of dark green leaves, just no blooms).

Then came the biggest disappointment: I bought it primarily as a butterfly nectar plant (listed as "outstanding" on several websites).... but all it attracted were tons of wasps! People were drawn close by the gorgeous flowers, but then immediately repelled by the wasps & the risk of being stung. Meanwhile, a firespike bush nearby was covered with butterflies!

Yes, the f... read more


On Jul 25, 2009, fullsun007 from Gainesville, FL wrote:

This Clerodendrum sometimes referred to as blue butterflies for obvious reasons, is a great plant. Becoming more readily available at nurseries. I have several of these plants in my yard (zone 8B) and they begin flowering from late June until first frost. They can take a harsh pruning which can result in another round of more vigorous flowering. This year we had 2 nights with back to back lows of 21oF which killed them to the ground. New growth started emerging around mid April and by the end of July some branches are over 8 feet tall. They can be cut when 2-3 feet high to force branching make it bushier. Unlike other clerodendrums (here in north Florida) Ugandense is not invasive. If you want to attract bees into your yard this plant will do the trick. The flowers are exquisite an... read more


On Apr 29, 2009, dillansnana from Hemet, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

I like others bought this plant at WalMart. Could not resist the fasinating flowers. Read some of the plant files about softwood cuttings, so we took the plunge and cut off some of the leggy branches a couple of months ago, My DH stuck about 8 of them in the ground. A couple of days later I pulled them up to put "Root tone" on them, which my DH had not done. Well today "Glory be to God" we have leaves growing on about 4 of these cuttings. WOW, what a wonderful suprise. We are kind of new to "serious gardening" and this is (to say the least) very encouraging. look forward to sharing this wonderful plant with friends and other empty spots in our yard


On Oct 29, 2008, haika from Snohomish, WA wrote:

This plant is doing OK in my sunroom, but the flowers only last one day and it's not that generous with it's flowers. If I was offered this plant knowing what I know now, I'd pass. I can use the space for something much more interesting.


On Jun 21, 2008, mrickett from Lawrenceville, GA wrote:

I purchased two of these at WalMart last year. They are both standards. I kept them in pots outside all summer (Zone 7). I overwintered them in my unheated garage taking them out for some sun on warm days. Most of the leaves fell off. I took them back outside once the temperatures remained above freezing. They are once again in full bloom and an excellent source of nectar for bees, butterflies and the occasional hummingbird. It is an easy to care for plant. It does not mind the heat and if it does wilt from lack of water a quick drink revives it. What I like most about this plant is the delicate flowers.


On Oct 12, 2007, lee_ro from Raleigh, NC wrote:

(zone 7, Raleigh NC) This beautiful plant caught my eye in Home Depot this past Sunday the 7th, where it was being sold as a small tree (appx 5ft high with a baby or two growing in the pot). The employees there knew nothing about it, not even its name. I adored it, with its small, pretty blue butterfly shaped flowers, but no one employed at the time could tell me how to take care of it.

After I bought it a different employee came up and told me it was a tropical and needed to be brought inside during cold months in our area. Other than that, like the rest of them, he knew nothing about it. D'oh!!! I didn't want a houseplant, I wanted it in my garden! I've never had luck with flowering houseplants for some reason-- I'm chalking it up to not having the right windows or... read more


On Aug 28, 2007, ceejaytown from The Woodlands, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Beautiful shrub that is root hardy in this area. Cut back to ground in winter, and prune to encourage bushiness as it grows. Otherwise it will get tall, lanky canes that tend to fall over. Mine has full sun until about 1 PM.


On Jul 11, 2007, CaGardenLuvr from La Grange / Don Pedro, CA wrote:

I picked up one of these beautiful specimens at Wal-Mart & have had it for 3 years now. I grow it in a pot due to very hard clay dirt in my locale. This plant is my favorite. Very low maintenance & sooo pretty. I cut this plant back to a nub the first winter I had it, I thought I had killed it but refused to throw it away & it came back bigger & healthier than before. I may plant it in a bigger pot so it will grow bigger than the 2 feet it is slowly approaching.


On May 14, 2007, Sheila965 from Rincon, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

This plant is a tender perennial in Zone 8b. I keep it in a well-drained pot and bring it in when the weather gets cold and keep it on my screened in porch. It lived and I moved it back out when the weather warmed up.

Very profuse bloomer and intriguing flower. Adds a unique character to the garden!


On Apr 21, 2007, 1cros3nails4gvn from Bluffton, SC (Zone 9a) wrote:

I saw a huge bush of this growing under a deodar cedar at the SC state capitol in Columbia, South Carolina. zone 8a/8b
it was about 3 years ago, and ive been wondering what it was all this time


On Oct 16, 2006, gardengirl1960 from Seabrook, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I am so very happy to have this plant! I have been looking for it for a long time and finally got a big one Sat.
I have not planted it yet but I will plant it in a semi sun area.


On Oct 8, 2006, periann from Tempe, AZ wrote:

I saw these last year in Hong Kong in a public gardens and thought they were incredible. I just found one at Baker's Nursery in Phoenix and planted it this weekend.
Hope it does well, I am optimistic here in Phoenix, AZ


On Aug 10, 2006, Maydreams27 from Port Saint Lucie, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Last week my plant was just beautiful and then we had a really hard rain and now it is naked. Since it enjoys partial sun, may be nice under a high trellis that may protect it from the rain.


On Jul 31, 2006, boomertoo from Foley, AL wrote:

I have had this wonderful plant for two years and just this a.m. found out on Google what it was and how to get other variations of it. My friends all over the U. S. wanted information. I'd sent out pictures on email of the bees & butterflies working the flowers. I have Happenstance, a 5x5 ft bush here and want Floridian to try to prune to tree shape along the back of my garden. I'm in Foley, Alabama. Just at the northern edge of the coastal area. It dies back in winter and pops right back in spring. This is a great plant!!


On Jun 22, 2006, barriosj from Des Allemands, LA wrote:

Joanne Barrios, Des Allemands, La. (zone 9)

This is my most favorite of all plants. It was given to me as a gift, and I have sucessfully made several cuttings from it and shared it with friends. It will be a rare addition to the D.A. Catfish Festival every July! See you at the plant booth!


On Apr 29, 2006, BDunn from Sunset Beach, NC (Zone 8a) wrote:

I just purchased this at a local nursery (so I guess you can find it sometimes in a nursery) and THEN read the comments (kinda' like the cart before the horse). It sure is sweet. Most have said "part sun" and others say "sun". I'm so short on shade I may have to try it in more sun and see how it does.


On Mar 7, 2006, casacalibri from Baton Rouge, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

I purchased my butterfly flower while I was living in Pensacola, Florida 1-1/2 years ago. I have moved back to my home of Baton Rouge, Louisiana on 12/31/04. I dug up and moved the bush with me since it was still small. I have had great success with it here. I just dug it up to move it to a better location and found I had two plants which appeared to be one (nice bonus). It overwintered here very well, even through several hard freezes. All it did was lose it's leaves. I have never seen these for sale in nurseries, but think they should be.


On Feb 10, 2006, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

This plant gets its name from its 2 toned blue butterfly-shaped flowers.


On Feb 4, 2006, dmj1218 from west Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

This shrub does wonderfully in the ground here in west Houston. Blooms constantly from May until frost. It always freezes back to ground level every winter for me. New growth commences from ground level (not on old wood). The plant is a good 8' tall and about 6' wide here. I love it and would not be without one! Bees particularly love it. In fact, it's one of the biggest bee magnets in my yard.

A superb plant for light and dark blue contrasting blooms. Also a great backdrop for other, lower growing plants and flowers.


On Oct 8, 2005, michaeladenner from Deland, FL wrote:

Hardy, dependable, showy -- like its relative, the Pagoda Flower (C. paniculatum), it flowers here in 9a in mid- to late-summer, when many other flowers have burned out or are dormant. I have mine in full sun now, but I know from observation that they grow better with some sun, and require less water. It roots so easily that cutting can be jammed into the ground, where they'll rapidly root in damp, warm weather (which is about 8 months of the year here...). I've never seen this plant for sale in the nurseries or home centers -- it's a pass-along plant.
A really elegant flower, but not much impact from a distance -- plant this somewhere for close observation or use it for a cut flower.


On May 2, 2005, DaisyJen from Pensacola, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

It was hard to believe that I received the top Horticulture Award of Excellence in a flower show. I planted it in an area where I dump raked leaves for use later, and it did get about 10' tall. It grows where there is part sun and shade. I didn't know that it can be trimmed, and I will certainly do that to make it bushier. I recommend this plant, but plant it where it will have plenty of room to grow. I don't have any problems with pests and so far I haven't seen it being an invasive plant like some Cleredendrums.



On May 2, 2005, DawnRain from Bartow, FL wrote:

This is one of my most highly rated plants because it is always in bloom and excels in easy care in the pot or in the ground. You will lose it if ground is flooded for long periods, but it withstands drought easily. It is a perfect pot plant and takes trimming very well. Those trimmings easily become new plants to share. One of my MUST haves, it will always be a part of my garden. DR


On May 1, 2005, theresamendoza from Hesperia, CA (Zone 8a) wrote:

In zone 8a, I tried to grow this plant in a large pot with morning sun and afternoon shade. It grew beautifully all summer but despite adding a mulch of pine needles, it has not come back this year. Should probably be treated as an annual anywhere colder than zone 9b.


On Nov 29, 2004, gordo from Gulfport, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

This clerdendrum is a real show stopper! Here on the west coast of Central Florida, it enjoys a part sun location and reasonable watering. Soil should be well drained, as too much moisture will kill it. Reproduction is through seed or cuttings, the later preferrable. Cuttings may be rooted in a glass of water, sand, or damp seed starting mix. No hormone powder required. Pruning keeps it chubby and flowering. With patience it may also be trained into a specimen tree. See photo. Higly recommend this one!


On Aug 27, 2003, Happenstance from Northern California, CA wrote:

Clerodendrum ugandense, (Blue Butterfly Flower) is an upright grower, with canes which can reach 10' tall, though the height is usually under 6';plants are easily kept shorter by shearing.

Practically everblooming, with 1" blue-violet flowers on long, thin stalks at the tops of the plants. Flowers are reminiscent of butterflies in shape. Plant in rich, moist, well drained soil in partial shade. Zones 8-11.


On Jul 12, 2003, TX_js from Missouri City, TX wrote:

I have observed that plant form seems to vary, but flowers remain unchanged. I have a specimen from Florida that has thickened ovate leaves with smooth margins, woody stems and a specimen from Houston that is more herbaceous: thinner, fuzzier leaves (oval with serrated margins), square stems on new growth at ends of branches, non-woody.branches. Both plants have identical flowers, borne in the same manner.


On Feb 11, 2003, ohmysweetpjs from Brookeville, MD wrote:

A long time bloomer with flowers one right after the other. A nice tropical plant to have. Okay to keep indoors in a colder climate as it can be pruned nicely. Aphids are a problem though.


On Sep 5, 2001, justmeLisa from Brewers, KY (Zone 6b) wrote:

This shrub is an evergreen shrub in the deep coastal south. Its dark green glossy leaves are 4 inches long and the pistil and stamens arch outward and upward, looking like butterflies.