January 20
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Plant Genus of the family Verbenaceae

Genus Description Cultivation
Clerodendrum A genus of about 400 evergreen or deciduous small trees, vigorous shrubs and climbers found mostly in tropical and subtropical regions of Asia and Africa. Their simple leaves are opposite or whorled, and they are grown for the showy violet or red flowers which appear in terminal panicles in summer. Some members of the genus have long been valued in traditional medicine. Others make ideal container plants while the climbing species are ideal for trellis cultivation. The fruit is a drupe or berry. CULTIVATION: Clerodendrum species prefer light to medium well-drained soils which are rich in humus, in a protected partly shaded to sunny position. Water freely in the growing season. The stems of young plants may require support, and sucking insects such as mites, mealybugs or whitefly can pose a problem. Propagation is from seed sown in spring or from cuttings of half-hardened wood taken during winter or summer.
Vitex This unusual genus that encompasses several seemingly very different species is made up of some 250 species of evergreen and deciduous shrubs and has a widespread distribution in the tropical, subtropical and warm temperate zones. The foliage is usually digitately divided with up to 7 leaflets, but sometimes only one; it may be smooth-edged or toothed; the surface may be smooth and glossy, downy or felted. The flowers are clustered in panicles, racemes or cymes but may be tiny, like those of Vitex agnus-castus, or relatively large, like those of V. lucens. The flower color range is also wide, which adds up to a variable genus about which it is difficult to generalize. CULTIVATION: As expected of a genus with tropical members, many species are frost-tender, but some are quite hardy and will tolerate moderate frosts. In general, Vitex species prefer to avoid the extremes of soil moisture, being tolerant of neither drought nor waterlogging. Plant in moist, fertile, well-drained soil and water well in summer. Most are best with at least half-day sun. Hard pruning is seldom required but trim to shape as necessary. Propagate from seed or cuttings.

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