Duranta erecta / repens ‘Sweet Memories’ – attracts butterflies, bees and birds

Duranta erecta ‘Sweet Memories’ (Pigeon Berry, Golden Dewdrop, Skyflower)

Duranta erecta 'Sweet Memories', captured in November 9, 2006 Duranta erecta (syn: D. repens) 'Sweet Memories', captured in November 9, 2006

Growing in our garden are two of the commonest cultivars – Duranta erecta ‘Sweet Memories’ with stunning purple flowers with contrasting white centres and wavy white borders on petals’ edges, and Duranta erecta ‘Alba’ with sweet white flowers. Hmm…I wonder whether ‘Geisha Girl’ is a synonym for ‘Sweet Memories’ or is it a different cultivar with deep violet-blue flowers?

Duranta erecta 'Sweet Memories' at our backyard, July 5 2009Duranta erecta ‘Sweet Memories’ is the much favoured between the two cultivars! A scrambling shrub that is a prolific bloomer and produces golden berries in great abundance! Such a delight watching its gorgeous cascading clusters of purple flowers amongst its hanging bunches of golden berries displayed simultaneously, resting on our chain-link fence for support! It does need heavy prunning occasionaly though to maintain tidiness and shaped as a compact bush. :D

Plant Profile, Culture and Propagation :

  • Botanical Name: Duranta erecta ‘Geisha Girl’ or ‘Sweet Memories’ (synonym: Duranta repens, Duranta plumieri, Duranta ellisia)
  • Common Name: Pigeon Berry, Golden Dewdrop, Skyflower
  • Family name: Verbenaceae
  • Etymology: The genus Duranta is named after the fifteenth century Italian botanist, Castore Durantes, while the specific epithet erecta means ‘upright’ in Latin.
  • Origin: Native from Southern Florida to Mexico and Tropical South America, and the Caribbean. It is popularly cultivated in the tropical and subtropical regions worldwide
  • Plant type: Outdoor ornamental shrub
  • Potted Duranta erecta 'Sweet Memories' at our backyard, captured October 13, 2007Features: This fast growing shrub can easily reach between 1.5-3 m (5-10 ft) tall and just as wide. It usually forms a sprawling shrub with drooping and trailing branches, or sometimes tree-like though rarely seen. Foliage is semi-deciduous with lush-green shiny ovate leaves that are sometimes toothed.
    Flowers are produced in clusters on the terminal growth of its graceful and weeping branches. These delicately fragranced flowers (individual flower measuring 12.7 mm / 0.5 in across) in colours of deep violet-blue or purple, sky blue or white, bloom almost all year round in spring, summer and autumn and throughout the year in the tropics.
    Golden Berries of Duranta erecta, taken October 10, 2006Duranta repens produces golden-orange berries in hanging bunches too. A very showy shrub with flowers and berries on the plant at the same time! Its pretty flowers attract bees and butterflies and its bright golden berries are relished by birds.
    Some regions, such as Australia, China, South Africa and several Pacific Islands, have considered this showy shrub as an invasive species.
    Warning: Be aware that these attractive Duranta repens’s berries and leaves are toxic and have been found fatal to humans, animals and possibly pet birds. Read about its poisoning to 9 dogs and a cat.
  • Culture (Care): Duranta erecta or Golden Dewdrop is such an easy-to-grow plant and needs little maintenance.
    Light: Prefers full sun, though tolerates semi-shade.
    Moisture: Needing moderate water, regularly.
    Soil: Grow best in moist, but well drained and moderately fertile soil in container or ground.
    Others: With a sprawling growth habit, Duranta erecta ‘Sweet Memories’ will definitely require regular thinning and pruning to keep it under control and encourage bushiness so that with more new growth (branches), you’ll get more flowers. Generally, it’s free of serious pests and diseases.
    For subtropical and temperate regions: Hardiness: USDA Zone 8a-11. Read here for more plant facts. It is sensitive to frost and extremely cold winters that can kill the shrub to the ground. However, it may recover and ‘return to live’ when warmer weather approaches in spring.
  • Propagation: Propagate from seeds or from semi-hard stem cuttings.
  • Usage: It’s great as a beautiful and fragrant hedge or screen (borders). Since it flowers young, it’s excellent as a lovely container plant on the patio, deck or garden porch! It can easily be trained as a bonsai or topiary for decorative purposes. It can also be grown on a trellis as a semi-vine. Attractive to bees, butterflies and birds especially the hummingbirds as a nectar plant. Lovely too if you like photographing these beauties! I do! ;)

A young flowering plant of Duranta erecta 'Sweet Memories', propagated from stem cuttings. Captured - April 5, 2006We love that the Golden Dewdrop can be so easily propagated from stem cuttings and does not require any rooting solution at all! Just push a few 5″-8” long stem cuttings into the soil and it’ll sprout new leaves, branches and blooms very quickly in a short period of time! Great as gifts to neighbours and friends or exchanges with other gardeners for their seedlings! ;)

I’ve read that the golden fruits were great food for birds such as songbirds, but were skeptical that they ever attracted any kind of bird, seeing our abundant fruits untouched and still heavily bunched for months on end! However, about a month ago I was pleasantly surprised by at least two dozen starlings that were accompanied by some sparrows feasting ravenously on them! I hastened to get my camera hoping for a precious capture of their activity, but in a jiffy they had disappeared with bellies filled! Anyway, it gave me an excuse to prune my shrub which was almost stripped-empty of its golden dewdrops!! Hehe…sometimes it’s such a problem doing the necessary…pruning, I mean…when the flowers and berries are still greeting you with their happy faces!! :)

Duranta erecta ‘Alba’ which is also grown in a container in our garden, is just as lovely with pure white flowers.
Duranta erecta 'Alba', taken on September 24, 2007 Duranta erecta 'Alba' reaching for the sky, taken on December 13, 2006
It is a more erect bush, seemingly the hardiest of Sky flowers and can shoot skywards unhindered very easily. Like the ‘Sweet Memories’, it flowers abundantly and produces golden berries too, though not as much as the former.

I’ve just got acquainted with names and description of other duranta cultivars, not knowing that there were those with lovely variegated foliage too. How immense and magnificent is God’s creation of beauty and nature!

Other external links:

Updated May 30 & June 1, 2007 –
Here’s sharing images of a butterfly and a bee nectaring on the Pigeon Berry’s flowers!

This male butterfly known as Small Blackveined Albatross (Appias libythea olferna) just love the Duranta erecta 'Sweet Memories' A bee feasting on the Pigeon Berry (Skyflower)

A pair of Yellow-vented Bulbuls on the Pigeon Berry

And today too, I discovered a pair of
White-browedYellow-vented Bulbuls feasting on the
berries of Duranta repens ‘Alba’
as shown in the left photo.

Sorry that the image is quite blurry
as shot from quite a distance and
picture was cropped!

How blessed to see these garden visitors! :D

Updated September 28, 2008 –

Sharing some photos of our potted Duranta repens ‘Alba’,
captured a few months ago.

Duranta erecta 'Alba' in our garden Duranta repens/erecta 'Alba' in our garden

Last edited: May 26 2016

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115 Responses to “Duranta erecta / repens ‘Sweet Memories’ – attracts butterflies, bees and birds”

  1. Donna Says:

    WoW! Thank you for the info and pictures of sweet memory Duranta… I just bought a 3 ft one today.. It was so pretty and I liked that it was fast growing as I have a short grow season due to snow in winter, and I have vast areas to fill up! all the info helped plus you pics were awesome!


  2. Jacqueline Says:

    Hi Donna! You’re most welcome and it’s my pleasure really! Thanks lots for visiting and leaving your uplifting comments and I appreciate them very much! I’m glad to have been of help and It’s rewarding when visitors leave happy and enriched! You’ve made a perfect purchase, Durantas are gorgeous indeed and you’ll be having lots more for free if you propagate them from stem cuttings yourself. Hmm…they’re magnets for the 3 Bs (bees, butterflies, birds!) and that’s wonderful if you’re also a nature lover like us! All the best and happy gardening! :)

  3. Amanda Says:

    It’s the end of summer in my Zone 9, and I’ve just been introduced to “Sweet Memories” Duranta. There’s a full sun plot in my yard I hope to fill with this beautiful plant… and soon. Is it the right time for planting?

  4. Jacqueline Says:

    Hi Amanda! I think you’ve chosen a perfect sunny spot for your Duranta. However, I’m unable to confirm that it’s the right time for planting in temperate regions as I’m in the tropical region without the 4 seasons. Anyway, I’d deduce that it’s okay to plant now having read at this site that this plant is hardy at your Zone 9 and flowers from late summer to early fall. Probably, it’s a better idea to first plant it in a container (it does very well in container as in ground) so that you can overwinter indoors just to be sure. Once the plant is well established, don’t be afraid to prune and use its stem cuttings to propagate, so you’ll be doubly sure of having more plants! All the best and hope you reap good results! :)

  5. Lisa Says:

    I love my Duranta shrub so vivid in color. I’am not able to prune the shrub this season yet due to huge black aggressive bees chasing me away . Does anyone have a suggestion on what I should do. I have a mixture of bumble bees and a black bee that resembles a bumble bee?
    Thank you

  6. Jacqueline Says:

    Hi Lisa! You may want to prune your shrub in the late evening when the sun has set and the bees are no longer around, having returned to their hive and are most dormant at this cool time of the day. However, if the hive is on the shrub itself, then it’s a different threat altogether. In my opinion, it’ll be faster if you do a google search on how to rid of bees where lots of options are available to suit your own situation. All the best in your solution.

  7. Lisa Says:

    Thank you for the information. I will try to attempt going out in the early evening to see my plan of attack . The bush really is in need of a good trim. I have heard so many remedies on how to rid the area of any and all bees. Vinegar as a solution ,moth balls, soapy water…cant get close enough to even try. But I will take your advice and wait until the sun has set and make sure there is no hive. Wish me luck
    thanks again

  8. Jacqueline Says:

    Hi again, Lisa! I’m most happy to have been of help though I’m most keen to know whether you’ve succeeded in your attempt. I truly wish you success in your endeavour. Your bush will definitely be happy too to reward you with new growth and glorious blooms after its ‘haircut’! ;)

  9. Jenny Says:

    Hi to all —

    I have a wonderful duranta in my courtyard and it has bloomed twice since June. However, it has had buds on it for about three weeks with no blooms and some almost seem like they tried to bloom but died before the flower actually developed. Any suggestions?

  10. Jacqueline Says:

    Hi Jenny! And thanks for visiting!
    I’m just guessing – could it be that your bush has exhausted itself with its prolific blooming and need a rest now? Probably a light trim may help! ;)

  11. Jenny Says:

    Thanks! It has also produced a lot of new foilage in the last month. I can tell the that the buds are trying to bloom and just kind of dying before they actually become a flower. I will try to trim it back and see what happens. Any suggestions on trimming techniques for this particular plant.
    Thanks agan,

  12. Jacqueline Says:

    Jenny, You can trim anyhow you desire as durantas are tough and are not at all hurt even if they are pruned close to the main stems. If you want a low and compact growth habit, then you can trim after flowering which will encourage more new branches, thus more blooms as they’re found in clusters at each terminal. But, by this method you may miss out on the yellow berries which emerge much later after the blooms and the stems would have grown much longer and taller. So, it is really subjective, depending on what you prefer. I like both the flowering and the berries, so I will trim some stems to encourage more new growth/flowers, and at the same time allow some stems to grow unchecked (a little leggy-looking though) but that is okay since the top keeps throwing out cascading branches too with flowers and berries! Using both methods, I’ll get the best of both worlds so to speak! :D

  13. Peter Says:

    Hi so how do you grow your own?

    I have 3 or 4 that are great and want to plant more. I can’t buy them at the moment, I have seen a standard $22.0 and potted cutting $10.99.

    How do i make the cuttings and plant them so they i can grow my own?

    Thanks in advance

  14. Jacqueline Says:

    Hi Peter! From your matured flowering plant, just choose any semi-hard stem (preferably an older stem that already bore golden berries at their terminal), prune it off the main plant and cut into 5-8″ lengths. Then remove from each stem cutting all the lower end leaves with a sharp scissor leaving some top leaves behind. Prepare your potting mix, plant your cuttings and water it. With daily watering and located in semi-shade area, given time they should sprout new growth and take root. I would suggest that the best time to propagate is when you’re ready to prune your bush and thus have ample stems to choose from, and more than enough cuttings to grow, with more chances of success! Wish you all the best!

  15. nomi Says:

    mine is dying? why?

    its leaves are turning yellow and dropping off…..ive tried more water, ive tried less water…..does it need a bigger pot…..how can i save it?

  16. Jacqueline Says:

    Hi nomi! From my experience with our potted Durantas in tropical climate, I find they love the sun and humidity and are happy drinking lots of water. We even shower them in the evenings with the hose during the very hot seasons. I’d think that leaves turning yellow and dropping off are normal as they adjust to the changing weather and when this result in leggy trunks, I’ll just give it a hard prune (durantas are very tough and can tolerate pruning very well) and it springs back with luxuriant growth in no time. In your case, probably better to postpone repotting, you don’t want to stress it further. Meanwhile, you may want to cut ONE stem (a life one) to try propagating new plants instead. In this way, you can look forward to more new plants, and at the same time monitor for new shoots at the cut area of the parent plant to access its health and further growth, before deciding the next step. Hope this helps. In gardening, we win some and lose some, so all the best to you! :)

  17. Jon G. Says:


    Our Durata is in the ground as a schrub. It is January 08 and we have had about 4 or 5 freezes into the lower 20’s. We have not pruned this plant at all, but need to know how to prune if not too late. We usually trim our Lantana back to the main stems. Can we do the same with Duranta? Pruning advice appreciated?

  18. Jacqueline Says:

    Hi Jon! Durantas are such tough plants that no matter how hard you prune them, they come bouncing back! A few months ago, I’ve even cut back our 5 ft. potted bush right down to a single main stem of less than a foot tall and it survived without any vengeance! Pruning is really subjective, you can prune after flowering or after fruiting or even before flowering if you want a more compact bush. And, the cut stems can be used to propagate new babies, isn’t that lovely. Kindly refer to my earlier responses dated Sept 24 and Oct 7 above, regarding pruning and propagating. However, being a tropical gardener, I’m unable to confirm whether winter is the right time for you to prune your bush. Since you’re unable to overwinter your bush inside, you may probably want to try cutting at least one semi-hard stem to propagate inside your green house, to ensure continuity. ;-) This forum discussion may interest you. All the best!

  19. Chris Fry Says:

    Hi Jacqueline, I’m in the Blue Mountains area of Australia – we get frosts and temperatures of -6 degrees in Winter. What can I do to protect my Duranta’s? The frost killed them 2 years ago (or so I thought) and they shot again from the base – they are lovely and healthy now and I don’t really want to put them through that again? Regards, Chris

  20. Jacqueline Says:

    Hi Chris. Sorry, I’m unable to help much as I’m in tropical Malaysia and have no experience whatsoever about gardening in winter. However, I’m happy that your Duranta survived the winter. So now, you have proven that Durantas have the ability to withstand adverse growing conditions (-6 degrees C) and survive. According to Dave’s Garden, it is even cold hardy to -12.2 degrees C. Since Durantas can tolerate such coldness, I’d deduce that probably overwintering your Duranta outdoors is a safer bet than overwinter it indoors which will also stress the plant if the right conditions aren’t met and lead to its demise. Meanwhile, you can still save your Duranta for next season by rooting stem cuttings and grow indoors. This is an easy way to get more plants and moreover these new plants are better able to adjust to change than a mature plant. Just my humble opinion. :)

  21. Liza Says:

    Hello, Chris!!

    Well, I think the basic needs of your darling Duranta is a VERY good draining system, (ESPECIALLY IF she lives in pot), and a good antifrost protection, by a special clothing ( for plant protection), during her hibernating months.

    During her growing period she needs a lot of water spraying, and a little more watering, WITHOUT waterlogging!!! During her hibernation she needs almost no watering — when living in pot, too.

    I hope, I helped a little!! Good luck!!!


  22. Rebekah Says:

    I am looking at planting some Duranta’s with the idea that they will form a hedge. The weather is starting to cool off here however it is still high 20’s and low 30*c. In summer the weather is often high 30*c to low 40*c. The place that I have to plant them will get full midday and afternoon sun and is near the house. Will this be too hot? Will the plants get burnt from the heat/ reflection from the house?

  23. Jacqueline Says:

    Hi Rebekah! We have 2 potted Durantas that gets the direct sun from late morning to late afternoon being in the south-east location and they thrive very well without getting burnt. Our hottest seasons can be as high as 33-34 degrees C, though during such times they get watered twice daily (early morning and late evening) as they’re in containers where the rate of dryness is faster. Whatever, Durantas are tough, we’ve experienced them surviving 3 days without water during a hot spell in early February when we were away on vacation. Thus, if you’re having your Durantas in the ground instead, and once established and acclimatized, I’d think it’s okay! Probably, water more abundantly in the hot summers. :)

  24. perry Says:

    hello, I just ought mine from Walmart, It is about 4ft tall looks more like a little tree than a plant and I’m wondering if I can buy a big pot to continue growing it in or do I have to plant it into the ground. I want it to get about 8ft tall and 8ft wide to cover near my pond. Should i put in ground or can i use a big pot, if pot any recommendations on size.

  25. Jacqueline Says:

    Hi Perry! Congrats on your purchase! :)
    Durantas can thrive very well in ground or containers, but of course, growing in ground is always a better choice. Thus, if you have ground space and not bothered by very cold winters, go for it. Just to give you an idea should you decide to plant in a pot, our plants are in pot size less than 15 inches across and we’ve allowed them to scale as high as 7-8 ft without trimming. Probably a larger pot than this is better, I think.

  26. perry Says:

    I ttok the chance and planted it in ground… I’min zone 8 (Augusta, GA) and I believe our frost is over…it’s also in direct sun. I purchased it from wal-mart (Golden Dewdrop) Duranta repens… So far this week has been getting up to mid 80’s. I water in early morn and in evening. I’m hoping i don’t over water it. Is that possible?
    Also, I’ll rad over the posted messages, but need to know if I have to pruns the tree, if so when? I don’t know much about pruning so will read up on it if i need to. I would like for this plant to get up to 8ft high and 6ft wide…is why i ask about pruning.

  27. perry Says:

    one more question…
    I’ve been reading that the fruits are poisonous to humas but not to the birds that eat them. My understanding the fruit contains a certain type of acid. Do you know how much needs to be ingested and how long it takes for it to be fatal? I have a dog and I’m hoping he doesn;t try to eat them when they fall and get poisoned.
    thanks for all the help and info!!!

  28. Sennur Says:

    Hi, as I was searching for that wonderful little tree I bought last year I came accross your site. Now I know what it was I was looking for. What I found so interesting though is the word “Bulbul” I am Turkish originally and have never seen anyone outside Turkey say “Bulbul”. I would love to know how you know, please forgive my ignorance. Sennur

  29. Jacqueline Says:

    Hi again, Perry!

    These are just my humble opinion: as long as your ground soil is well-drained, over-watering will not be an issue. And, pruning can be postponed for the time-being since it’s better not to over stress the newly planted tree as it begins to get established and adapted to the new ground first. Later, you can prune its long arching branches either after flowering or fruiting.

    I’ve read too that the berries are very poisonous and fatal to humans and animals. Better to keep you pet safe from it than to risk it being subjected to the toxicity, no matter how small the amount, I think. Sorry, I don’t have answers to your question, though I did try to surf the net but of no avail!

  30. Jacqueline Says:

    Hi Sennur – thanks for dropping by!
    Locally, we call this bird ‘Burung Merbah’, but then I needed to know its scientific name, so googling led me to the name, Bulbul. One gets to learn a lot, surfing the internet! ;)

  31. perry Says:

    Hello Jacqueline..
    It’s been a few weeks since i’ve planted my tree. I’ve noticed some leaves turning yellow. I’ve watered it everyday, in the morning. i have mulch on top to help with holding water. Think i’m over watering?

  32. Jacqueline Says:

    Hi Perry! There are a lot of reasons why leaves turn yellow, some of which are too much water or too little, water-logged, change of climate (cold to heat or shade to full sun), new location, newly transplanted, and don’t forget the natural process of new leaves emerging to replace the old. I’d think you’re the best judge of your plant’s condition. Here’s a link: http://mgonline.com/yellow_leaves.html which I hope can assist you. :)

  33. Carol Says:

    I am really enjoying your site. I have a beautiful duranta which I love, but just discovered today from reading that the berries are poisonous. I have two dogs that I do not want to lose, but I love the plant. Could you advise of a similar plant that is less toxic?

  34. Jacqueline Says:

    Hi Carol! So glad to receive your positive comment.
    The only two shrubs that come to mind of quite similar colors are the Brunfelsia calycina and Hydrangea macrophylla which are easy-growing too. However, I just read yesterday that the former is toxic too…otherwise, it’s one lovely colorful bush to add to one’s garden. :)

  35. Mircita Says:

    Hi, I am very glad to read some news about the duranta repens. I live in Tenerife. Could somebody tell me where can I find the seeds. Would they be in the orange fruits ??? Got some friends from mainland Spain and they felt in love with ine but cannot buy one over there and she would like to experience with seeds. thanks in advance for your answer.

  36. deb jacobs Says:

    I have 2 Durantas that are wonderful~and as a permitted rehabber of Hummingbirds I love watching them make a “bee”line for those bushes upon release.
    But I found you site while searching for toxicity in plants to songbirds.
    I am re landscaping my small yard..already have 2 trees in..nothing else.. (a Chilopsis Linearis and an Acacia Baileyana)
    I also am adding a few Lantana Confetti and now find that the “berries’ are toxic.
    My search is to discover if they are toxic to wild songbirds like mockingbirds, sparrows etc.
    Any help appreciated as the goal in my garden IS birds.

  37. Jacqueline Says:

    Sorry, I’m unable to help, deb! What about growing small edible fruit trees instead, those whose fruits are relished by birds too? Just a thought, though I’ve no idea what local fruit trees are available at your area.

  38. fixitlouie Says:

    Hi, im wondring if the plant (smkf) can be planted in the shade. I think is an attractive addition to an arbor, however its proposed to be planted in a shady or mid day only sun spot??

  39. Jacqueline Says:

    Hello fixitlouie! Go ahead, you have selected a wonderful spot (some shade/sun) for the duranta to flourish. All the best!. :)

  40. Donna S. Says:

    Hi Deb, Wanted to pass along some info I found on the Mountain States Wholesale Nursery (www.mswn.com). “The fruit is poisonous to
    humans, but evidently birds are not affected as
    they are responsible for seed dispersal.” I live in Southern California and just bought one at Lowe’s. The hummingbirds and butterflys love it! It is staked up in the pot so I assumed it would grow like a vine. but now that I read more about it, I think I will train it more like a tree. It is right outside of a beveled glass window in my entryway. It looks so beautiful there – it’s not even funny! I’m glad to know it’s in a good spot with only part sun/part shade. It was wilting quite easily in just the few hours of sun it got right after I brought it home. Sounds like it was just in shock. Thanks for for all of your encouraging info!

  41. Linda Yearsley Says:

    I pruned my Duranta about a month after I planted it so that it would get thicker. Since I did that it has grown to about 3 feet tall but is still not flowering. Should I have not pruned it until it blumed?

  42. ray j. Says:

    have 2 new duratas in the ground last week and the leaves are green and droopy. Planted next to house with east exposure in a warm climate. Will the leaves perk up or are they going to fall off? I watered them well when I put them in ,then cut back and now watering again. Any help?

  43. Jacqueline Says:

    Hi Linda!
    Durantas start to bloom very young at terminal stems. Thus, if your plant is young and you’ve pruned it before its first blooming, probably it will take a little longer to flower (I’m just deducing). Since it sprang back to 3′ tall after the pruning attest to its general good health, so probably it is time to feed it with a flowering fertilizer or just wait a little longer and it’ll spring some surprises soon! Just my humble opinion. :D

  44. Jacqueline Says:

    Hi ray J!
    Just my 2 cents worth…usually, new plants can be stressed, showing such symptoms as you’ve mentioned as they acclimatized with the replanting and the new site/conditions. Leaves will definitely fall, it is natural. Keep soil evenly moist but do not overwater, and water only during the evenings when the sun is no longer shining on them. That is all I would normally do and monitor for new growth to know they are okay eventually.
    Hope all is well for them soon. :)

  45. velma Says:

    Hi, I have a large and spreading duranta healthy plant. Problem is that after I pruned it back last fall or early spring, I get no flowers on it. However the cuttings bloom well just stuck in pots. How can I prune the now too large again plant and still get blooms. Also, I have never had any berries, even the first year when I was afraid to cut or prune it. It gets way too big and tries to come in the door. I keep telling family I can’t cut it or I won’t get blooms.

  46. Jacqueline Says:

    Hi Velma!
    We’ve never experienced our durantas not blooming after a hard prune. From experience they throw out more branches after a haircut, and will eventually bloom and produce berries. Hence, I really have no answers to your dilemma except to share that our potted durantas are located with south-east exposure where they get lots of sunshine and rain in our tropical climate and we feed it with a flowering fertilizer once every 2 months. Sorry that I am unable to assist you. :(

  47. nina Says:

    Hi, Jacqueline,

    I would like to know if it can be propagated by seeds, if the seeds are inside the berries, howI know that a berry (seed) is ripe and how difficult it is to cultivate it from seeds.

    Thanks. Nina

  48. Jacqueline Says:

    Hi nina!
    It can be propagated by seeds though I have never tried it out as the other alternative method by stem cuttings is simple and quick. The seeds are inside the ripened golden berries that will dry up and turn black. To propagate, I’m unsure whether one need to plant the fresh golden berries or the shriveled black ones. I’ve meant to experiment this method but so far have procrastinated. Maybe one of these days….!
    Sorry that I’m unable to give you a definite answer. :(

  49. deb jacobs Says:

    I have two beautiful durantas that are about 6-7 feet tall right now and I want to prune them.
    We get a lot of hummingbird action on the flowers but have not seen any songbirds on the berries.
    To prune a spent flower branch do I cut it back right the the point it meets a main stem or a few inches from that stem?
    also for letting me know it’s that easy to propagate, which I will now do with the cuttings!

  50. Jacqueline Says:

    Hi Deb! Pruning either way would not hurt your plant at all as durantas are hardy and take kindly to hard pruning. You can even cut way back down the main stem to just a foot or less and get a bushier tree eventually. Some prefer to train it as a standard with a taller trunk and a bushier top. So it’s really subjective, just trim according to your preference and style. All the best and happy gardening! :)

  51. deb jacobs Says:

    Thanks! I feel much more confident now.

  52. Jana Says:

    I have had a Duranta erecta for 4 years and love its hardiness, but I really would like to move it. Would transplanting it harm it? I wouldn’t want to risk killing it.

  53. Jacqueline Says:

    Hi Jana! I’ve experienced transplanting one from a medium pot to a larger one and it survived, but never had one transplanted from the ground. Hope someone out there can answer your question. Meanwhile, why not prune a stem or two and use the cuttings to propagate some new plants, that way you’re assured of its continuity! ;)

  54. David Says:

    Saw your article on Duranta’s. I have 3 planted in my front yard. They seem to have had a rough time this winter. One look like the wind had blown all the leaves off it. I don’t think the deer got it because they had left the other two alone. Anyhow, is now the best time to prune them back and how much do I prune them. They are about 3-4 ft high.

  55. Jacqueline Says:

    Hi David!
    Sorry, I’m unable to confirm whether now is the best time to prune your duranta as I live in tropical Malaysia without the 4 seasons. Hope some temperate gardeners to this site can answer your enquiry.
    Regarding how much to prune, well…prune anyhow according to your preference as durantas are very hardy plants and can tolerate hard pruning. Please refer to my earlier answers dated Jan 11 2009 and Jan 9 2008 above for further insights.

  56. sylvia Says:

    Jacque-I’m in zone 9 in Texas where it can get brutally hot in the summer (100 – 110 degrees not unusual) and my duranta does fine with good irrigation. It’s in the ground; gets a little shade from towering pecan about 20 feet away. My question is can I NOT prune at all. I want a tall, full shrub. I read it can reach 10 feet – would love that! But I want shrub form, not tree. Can I just leave it alone? Must I prune to get flowers? tks.


  57. Jacqueline Says:

    Hi Sylvia!
    I think you do have to prune to get a shrubby form. Otherwise, it will just throw out sprawling branches that are too long, looking disorderly and straggly, as well as too weak to support the berries that form at terminals. Pruning produces more branches, and that naturally lead to more flowers which will emerge at the end of the branches.
    That said, I do find it difficult to train my potted durantas into a shrub or a tree. So I just give them a hard prune once in a while to control its size as they are potted. Growing durantas on the ground is definitely a better option for optimum growth.

  58. perry Says:

    Well looks like my durantas isnt coming back. It must have died over the winter. I planted it last summer and it bloomed fine but now its just a dead looking tree with no leaves and all brown branches? Is there anything i can do to revive it?

  59. Jacqueline Says:

    Hi Perry! Sorry to read about the condition of your durantas. Are you really sure that it is dying and not just winter-stressed? I know nothing about temperate gardening but having read Chris’ comment above (dated March 14, 2008) that his plant came back from the base after a frost attack, I’d like to think that yours can survive too. If I’m in your shoes, I’ll follow my gardening instinct and give it a hard prune by removing all the deadened branches and cut back right down to a foot or two from the ground. If it appears healthy at the cut surfaces, then there’s a big chance it will survive with proper aftercare. Just my two-cents!
    All the best to you, Perry.

  60. perry Says:

    ok i just noticed some plants growing from the ground near the base of the trunk. As if its coming back as a bush. Not sure if its it or not. I’m looking at the leaves and am not sure if its the same leaves but they are pointy on the ends. Been lookign at pixs of durantes ot see if its coming back as a bush.Could that be it growing ? i cut it til there is about 8 inches of the trunk left cause all was dead.

  61. perry Says:

    is there a pix of them when they are first growing from the ground so i can see if its it. Orcan i send mine for viewing.. don’t want ot be growing a weed thinking its a durantas coming back.

  62. Jacqueline Says:

    Post an image here by all means, Perry!

  63. perry Says:

    sorry for the delay not sur ehow to post a pix in the message board but i took 2 pixs of it..

  64. perry Says:

    here are the links to them on my FLICKER

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/3573968117/

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/3574775332/

  65. Jacqueline Says:

    Hi Perry!
    Thanks for providing the links to your lovely images. That’s definitely your duranta coming back strong and in good condition! Congrats, I’m delighted for you.

  66. Perry Says:

    Yay!!! thank you very much!!! Do you think i should cut that center branch off or cut it down to the top of soil, if nothing grows from it? or just leave good enough alone?

  67. Jacqueline Says:

    Any of the options you mentioned is okay, Perrry! My choice will be to leave it as it is because a dried stump will fall itself eventually.

  68. Libbi Says:

    I have three durantas that were planted in the spring a year ago. The leaves look beautiful, but they have not bloomed. One is in part shade, the other two full sun. Why haven’t they bloomed?

  69. Stephania Brown Says:

    Good Morning,

    I have just identifies my duranta after having bought it at WalMart two years ago. It had no naming label, rather just identified as a “tropical plant.” It has bloomed beautifully both summers. Of course, I have had to bring it indoors in the winter since I live on the border of z6 and z7. I enjoyed reading all the comments and questions, but the main reason I wanted to write was to thank you for not being timid about your belief in God. He is indeed great, mighty, loving, and ever so creative! Blessings.

    Stephania B

  70. Jacqueline Says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Stephania B.
    About God, that’s the least I can do, to offer praises and thanksgiving in gratitude for all His wondrous blessings, love and mercy. Really appreciate your affirmation about Him.
    God bless you! :)

  71. Yeng Yun Says:

    Hi Jac,

    From what I have read on the web and some of the earlier posts, it seems my problem is not unique. I pruned my durata as the stems were too long and droopy and I wanted a bushy plant. Since then, it has not bloomed once (it has been 5 long months!!). It has however grown wildly in all directions and I have to keep cutting it down so that it doesnt grow into my other plants. The leaves look different when they grow out (they are lighter green, softer and have a more jagged edge). It almost looks like a different plant than when I bought it! I have tried regular fertilizing, then tried ignoring it, tried more watering and less watering…and I now read that I may have to acidify my soil!! And my plant cuttings have all died! Since we’re both from the same tropical part of the world, I wonder whether you have any advice to give me? Have I overpruned it? Your experience with duratas seem so different from mine!

  72. Jacqueline Says:

    Hi Yeng Yun,
    I’m as confounded! What I can say is the clusters of flowers appear at terminal stems, and if you keep pruning their typically long stems before blooming, then of course they’re unable to reward you.
    ‘Sweet Memories’ have unusually long stems that can reach 3-4 ft long whereas the lavender-blue ones have shorter branches, more compact and easier to train into a bushy shrub.
    Until today, we’ve been unsuccessful in getting our ‘Sweet Memories’ into a shrubby plant as desired. So, we just give it a hard prune once in a while instead. And, eventually after a flush of new growth with lots of sunshine+water, it will flower prolifically and set berries as easily. How long that takes after a hard prune, I really don’t know as I didn’t keep track of time.

  73. Yeng Yun Says:

    Thanks, Jac, I really appreciate your time taken to respond to all the queries in your website! I guess I should have given it more space to grow. But I would never have guessed how big it has become in such a short space of time!

  74. Jeannie Says:

    Thank you for such a beautiful blog! I’ve been admiring my neighbor’s Duranta (without knowing the name until today) since before it started hanging more in my yard than hers! I love this plant. Good to know that it is easily propagated. I will share with someone I know.

  75. Jacqueline Says:

    Our pleasure, Jeannie, and glad to have been of help!
    We appreciate your generous comment and thanks.

  76. SIM KP Says:

    Thanks again Jacq – your description for the Duranta Erecta is great and I swear I will get some of these for my new garden.
    My Hibiscus garden only attract a lot of Sunbirds, but very few butterflies perhaps the Hibs have no scents

    Best wishes,


  77. Jacqueline Says:

    You’re most welcome, Sim! Aren’t you blessed….sunbirds are lovely visitors to be enjoyed too, we rarely see them in our garden!
    Have a lovely weekend!

  78. MrsstarlaG Says:

    I appreciate all the information I have read. We bought a new house in May 09 and this wonderful plant was one of the plants that the builder put in our bed. I did not know the name let alone of the information I have discovered on your website. I am very please to know that we can continue this plant in other places in our yard and I am also so happy to hear that I can pass it along to loved ones and friends. I do have a question about this plant that I was unable to find an answer to. Where the builder put it at the time that he bought it fit well. Now that it is over 5 feet tall it does not go well. We did prune and unfortunitly I did not know we could replant it. What I am wanting to know is now that we are at the beginning of winter and thinking into spring, can we move this plant without killing it? I moved an Esperanza but it went into shock and lost all of its leaves and flowers but the branches are still green. I do not want to loose this plant also. Thank you for anything you can give me. Have a blessed week!!!

  79. Jacqueline Says:

    Hi MrsstariaG,
    Hope temperate visitors reading your enquiry will be able to assist you, as we’re in the tropics.
    Have a lovely weekend.

  80. Mike A. Says:

    My wife and I have just moved in to a rent house and there is a Duranta in the backyard that is extremely healthy. Unfortunately, it has not been trimmed for months and is very wild. What is the proper way to get the Duranta under control? What shape should it be pruned into? We are afraid of harming it if we prune it too much. We also suspect that birds have nested in it and certainly do not want to disturb them.

  81. Jacqueline Says:

    Hi Mike,
    Duranta is a hardy plant and can tolerate a hard prune very well. We’ve cut back our potted plant many times (almost ‘bald’) and it comes bouncing back easily. Yes, enjoy your nesting birds while you can! :)

  82. Stacey McIntyre Says:

    From Northern Alabama in Zone 7b: My duranta repens is in a container in 6-7 hours of sun. The flower stems are “leggy” with flowers on the ends (6-10 inch long stems with flowers on the last one inch or so) and is becoming unattractive. Should the flower stems be cut back? Or should I prune the entire bush??

  83. Jacqueline Says:

    Hi Stacey! Pruning either way, be it the stems or the entire bush is really your choice and it takes well to hard pruning. Since flowers appear at terminal stems, recommended to prune regularly to encourage bushiness and more branching, resulting in more blooms.

  84. Kristine Says:

    Hi Jacqueline!
    We have a beautiful Duranta that bloomed great the first 2 years but has not bloomed the last two years. It has lots of healthy green foliage but no flowers. We pruned the plant back in the early winter and then let it grow because we thought we might be taking off the buds by pruning too close to blooming time but it has not helped. What might the problem be?

  85. Jacqueline Says:

    Not sure, Kristine! Have you tried feeding it with a flowering fertilizer with a higher % in potassium? Check @ http://www.gardening-advisor.com/Flower-Fertilizers.html for extra details.

  86. Laura Says:

    Hi there, back in May, which is a prior to winter in New Zealand, I bought a 6ft tall potted Duranta “Alba” with two bushy flowering branches. Within a week it started dropping leaves, so I thought the tree is stressed due to re-potting to a bigger pot. It turned out the lovely new tree was affected by scale. After 3 months of hard spraying and fighting with the disease, it still looks so poor, it has dropped almost all its leaves. It is still in a green house, well protected from winter cold and rainy weather and overnight frosts. But it is still alive with new tiny 3/4″ green stems starting to show up. Please advise what else I should do to help it to recover. I really do not want to lose it.

  87. Robert Says:

    I recently purchased a duranta on sale and will never regret it. It is on my patio (Western exposure) and has been in full bloom since I bought it. In Texas heat it drinks quite a bit of water. A friend has one in the ground (Eastern exposure). She says the best time to prune is late winter or early spring. Then she throws timed release fertilizer on it. This plant must have some direct sun in order to bloom. Do NOT allow to dry out. Place in a protected area in winter if in a container or, pull inside and place in a south window. Well worth the effort!

  88. Linda Says:

    I have a midnight blue duranta that is in bloom right now in the Houston, Texas area. When should I prune it?

  89. Lisa Says:

    i have a duranta that we need to keep in doors for the winters.(MN) i keep it in the west window and have notice that it has some kind of sticky stubstance on the leaves and stems with what look like bug pods. it leaves a film all over the window sill and what ever the branches touch. i water and fertilize every three days. how to i get the bugs off?

  90. betsy Says:

    Hi Lisa.. I don’t know about bugs sprays safe for this plant, but you could ask a plant place. I have found rose food with other pest control etc. works on many other plants very well. My problem with this duranta is I moved to a home where the plants hadn’t been watered in months. Looked pretty dead. I live in So. CA where temps reach over 100 degrees… I cut the plants way back, two appear to have a few leaves growing. Do you think this plant is hardy enough to grow back after no water for months with really high temps? I am hoping so.

  91. Lianne Says:

    Hi Jacqueline
    Finally I found out what the beautiful plant is that I bought in the garden centre!
    I need some help though. The beauty was planted in a container and alongside were planted century plants(not by me) these I had to get rid of as I found the roots (huge!) were murdering all the plants under the soil !!! One of which was the Duranta Repens. I used to look at it, feed it , water it and wonder why it was fading but the reason turned out that the root of the aforesaid century had grown through the root of the duranta. I have replanted it in fresh soil having removed the murdering root from the middle but since then (3-4 weeks) it just looks like the leaves are sort of greeny orangy dullish colour, with one or two green ones, all in all it looks unwell. Any ideas? Is the root dying? I hav’nt fed it yet as I thought to give it some time to settle into new soil. Sorry this is a late and long post. Any help gratefully recieved :)

  92. Lianne Says:

    Ooops! Sorry, should have read the other posts properly , lots of info there. Great site, thank you :)

  93. Jacqueline Says:

    Thanks for the compliment, Lianne! I think your plant has been overstressed …being uprooted, disentangled from the root mass, replanted and so forth. Hence, you just have to wait and see, and hope that it gets well-established and acclimatized with its present situation.
    Wish you all the best and hope you’re able to get more insights from the other posts as mentioned.

  94. Pam Says:

    I have this plant growing in Doha, Qatar. It is fabulous! During the very hot summer months (40C-50C) it is watered everyday. It is in fully sun and can take whatever you hand it. It’s only been in the ground about 1-1/2 years and is 4′ tall. All of my neighbors love it. I purchased it at a garden center not knowing what its name is. The Indian man knew the name in Arabic, but not English. Thank you so much for this website. Now I know its name and what to expect. : )

  95. Jacqueline Says:

    You’re most welcome, Pam…glad to be of help! Thanks for sharing your experience so that others with such very hot summers would know how to care for their durantas.

  96. Petra Says:

    I just bought a little Duranta tree this morning. I live in Canada so it will be an indoor plant. I was wondering, when should I re-pot it?
    Thank you!

  97. Colleen Says:

    I have a Durantain bush in a pot on my balcony in SoCal along with the tree version. The tree is doing great and attracts lots of hummingbirds. But the bush drops lots of blossoms, tiny black circular things/seeds and what look like seeds/dead blossoms. Very messy and the blossoms are almost gone. Lots of green things that look like future berries. There was some new growth but no new blossoms. Blossom drop en mass whenever I water but when I don’t water it looks dry and thirsty. Any advice?

  98. Mary Says:

    Was given a Duranta Picotee blue for Mother’s Day, and I adored it.

    Unfortunately it suffered a FOOT plant and was broken at the ground level. Will it regrow from root? If not do you know where can I purchase in Louisville Kentucky?
    Thanks much

  99. Michele Says:

    We received a small durante erectus as a gift at my daughters wake, my daughters favorite color was purple and this plant is beautiful with delicate purple flowers. My problem is that we live in northwest Indiana. We transplanted it in a larger pot a couple mos. ago and did well, but the weather has gotten cooler so we brought it inside. We put it in front of a southern exposure window. The soill drains well, but all the leaves are dropping off of it. This beautiful tree has sentimental value to us so we want it to survive. Should I prune it back? Any suggestions would help. Thanks.

  100. Dottie Says:

    I’m a bit confused…if the berries & leaves are toxic/fatal then how is it the
    “sparrows feasting ravenously on them” don’t die?

    I just planted one of these and am concerned with my dog & granddaughter getting it.


  101. Fred Says:

    I have 2 Durantas and I love them….so beautiful and they grow like weeds!

    My question is about the offshoots, or pups, that sprout all around the plants. I pulled up 3 of them, thinking they would look nice in another part of my yard. I shook off the dirt from the roots and transplanted them. I watered them every other day (I live in Houston, so they need the water) and they died. I would really like to have a Duranta in this spot…what am I doing wrong? Thank you for any help.

  102. MamaAnn Says:

    Bought my Skyflower (Durantas) in June 2007…planted it in a spot on a hill but it did not like where I had placed it and the deer loved it. So I replanted it to a different spot in 2009, again the deer loved it… I was determined to get it to rebloom…Put up deer fencing and showed it lots of love and it has finally come back. It is so beautiful this year. Did not start blooming until end of July but the purple/white blooms are beautiful.
    I want to share this plant with others, what’s the best way to propagate; cuttings with root boosters or should I save seeds from the berries?

  103. Jacqueline Says:

    Hi MamaAnn,
    Both ways of propagating these beauties as you mentioned are indeed viable. However, I’d prefer to propagate them from stem cuttings which grow faster than from seeds. All the best to you in your endeavour.

  104. Deirdre Says:

    Hi. I have a small duranta planted in my front lawn in full sun. We live in Adelaide, Australia (hot, dry summer, cold winter) and are well into spring. I gave the plant a hard pruning in winter and now it has lovely green leaves – but yesterday I noticed the newer leaves at the top are all curling! Now signs of mites or fungus, just curling – still green, not brown.
    Have you any experience of this with your plants, or any idea what it could be and how to treat it? I have cut off the leaves but don’t want to lose the tree.
    Many thanks.

  105. Jacqueline Says:

    Hi Deirdre! My 2-cents opinion is you have to treat your plant with an organic pesticide to get rid of the pests feeding on the leaves and prune off those smaller branches whose leaves are infected.
    Hope this helps.

  106. Annie Searl Says:

    Hi there,
    Loved reading all about the Geisha Girl – Duranta . i purchased 12 plants approx 1m (3ft) high. Do you think planting along a fence line 1m apart is a good distance. i would like to grow it along the fence. My husband doesnt agree with planting too close to the water tanks as the base of the tanks is a plastic. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  107. Jacqueline Says:

    Hi Annie,
    1m apart should be fine, but if you prefer a dense hedge then you may want to reduce the distance apart slightly.
    You’d need to google search to know whether duranta’s root system is extensive and would pose any potential damage as ascribed by your spouse. Sorry, I’m unable to assist here.

  108. Esperanza Sacristan Says:

    Hi Jacqueline,

    I was looking for some information on my newly acquired “Sweet Memory” Duranta and came across your website; I love it and want to say thank you. I feel as if I just met my plant (through you) and now I know it’s life story. I’m hoping to have a long and healthy relationship with it – thank you for the introduction!

  109. Jacqueline Says:

    You’re most welcome… my pleasure in sharing, Esperanza! Thank you for your kind comments and wish you all the very best with this beauty… may it give you much cheer and joy!
    Happy gardening and have a great weekend.

  110. Deb Says:

    I have a Duranta plant. I recently recently repotted it in a ceramic pot. It is on my east porch. It was doing great but some how the stem of the plant got broken below the tree top. There are sprouts at the base of the plant. I didn’t know if it can be saved?? Can it be planted in the ground?? I live in Western Kansas . I didn’t know if it could survive our winters???

  111. Loralee Says:

    I’ve just bought a Duranta “Sweet Memories” to plant as a small tree. It’s already got a good upright, with branches about 4 ft above the ground. How do I prune it to keep it to about 8 feet tall and 8 feet across? And how often should I fertilize? Thanks for helping.

  112. Marlene Jones Says:

    Hi: We are getting ready to paint the exterior of our house. I have a dilemma with my sweet memory duranta tree. Should I have it pruned back totally now in anticipation of the painting project, so that the painter can reach the area behind the tree to paint OR should I just have the tree trimmed on it’s backside so that he can reach the fascia and stucco areas. It’s almost July now and I haven’t had to pruned for about a year and a half. Thanks, Marlene– and the tree has blooms, I forgot to say!!!

  113. Nigel Hollis Says:

    Hi Jacqueline. We have several durantas in our Perth garden that love the local conditions. However my bonsai duranta has leaves going yellow, and black sooty spots and white spots under the leaves. Also some leaves become a bit twisted/disfirguered. I have used an aphid spray to no effect. Can you help

  114. Deb Says:

    Regarding the Duranta “Sweet Memories” grown as a standard in a pot, can anyone tell me how large I can expect it to get? Currently the trunk is 38″ high and the head is 20″ high with a 30″ spread.


  115. Gwen Worscheck Says:

    We have 3 Duranta trees in pots , what is the care for them , they have flowers and berries. what fertilization and care instructions do you have for us?

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