Duranta: Podcast Ep#67

Updated: Sep 28

The Duranta is not commonly seen as a houseplant, but I think they should be used more often! Even though it is considered a difficult houseplant, it is very rewarding and produces abundant flowers. In my experience, it is worth the work!



Botanical Name: Duranta erecta (you may also see this labeled as Duranta repens which is considered a synonym)

Common Name: Duranta, Golden Dewdrops (because of the golden fruit)

Varieties: Sapphire Showers (the most common), Variegata, Alba, Golden Edge, Cuban Gold, Aurea, etc


Sun Requirements:

If it is possible to give this full sun, that is the best option. It needs sunlight to produce the best and longest lasting blooms, with the densest foliage. Bright, indirect light is acceptable as well, but I wouldn't advise putting this in any less light. That being said, with no obstructions, a south window is best. A west window is also an option. In my experience, moving this plant outside in spring (to full sun) when it gets warmer allows the plant to thrive.


Water Requirement

Keeping this plant moist is important, otherwise the leaves and stems will droop dramatically. I would consider this a medium moisture plant but it can bounce back easily if it is underwatered. If the plant is underwatered, the stems will droop more and the leaves will also wilt and start to turn yellow. A Moisture Meter Reader is a great tool to measure the moisture until you understand the watering cadence needed for your conditions.


Humidity could definitely help this plant to thrive. If you have the opportunity to increase humidity, I would do so! You can do this in a few different ways but the most effective way would be using a humidifier. There are MANY different kinds out there and you do not need to buy a humidifier that is specific to houseplants to be successful. I currently use one that is Honeywell brand.

In my experience, if I don't provide consistent moisture and humidity indoors (especially in winter) spider mites begin to appear. If you aren't able to increase humidity, I would recommend misting the plant to add moisture to the foliage. Try this Continuous Spray bottle linked here! It is perfect for misting your plants!


Fertilizer

As I always say, there are LOTS of ways to fertilize plants. Unless you are extremely over-fertilizing your plant, there isn't necessarily a wrong way to do this. I currently use Fox Farm's Grow Big Liquid Fertilizer and I normally fertilize every 2 weeks when I water my plants, starting around the end of February through October. I honestly probably only fertilize once or twice in winter because the plant isn't as active! I use about 1/2 to 3/4 the recommended amount of fertilizer because I would rather under-fertilize than over-fertilize my plants.


There are MANY ways to fertilize and it is completely up to you! There are tons of products out there you can try but an overall rule of thumb for houseplants is that it is best to under-fertilize, rather than over-fertilize. Always use the recommended amount, or less, when applying your fertilizer to houseplants.


Propagation

This plant can be propagated with stem cuttings. Since this has a woody stem, I would also recommend dipping the cut end in a rooting hormone. The best way to propagate is in soil. Keep it evenly moist with increased humidity. There are many ways to do this. For example, by covering it with a recycled to-go container, or putting a bag over the plant. You can even try these Winter Transparent Plant Freeze Protection Bags since they are larger than your normal Ziplock bag and you can reuse them for different plants!


Other Facts

  • Part of the Verbenaceae family.

  • Native to parts of tropical Americas.

  • In nature, these plants can grow about 15-20ft tall.

  • It is considered a multi-stem tree or shrub in nature, with drooping branches, and grows similar to a multi-stem Serviceberry tree in the Midwest. As a houseplant, you will commonly find this grafted into a tree form. The stem of this grated tree won't get any taller, only the shrub on top will get larger.

  • The plant is known for it's beautiful small flowers ranging from white, blue, and purple, that bloom from summer into fall. The foliage also tends to be bright green or a variegated white and green.

  • When this plant is in it's natural growth areas, they produce bunches of yellow fruits that birds love!

  • Sharp thrones are usually present on mature trees as well.

  • This is considered invasive in several places around the world like China, Taiwan, Hawaii, and Australia...to name a few.

  • The Duranta is toxic to pets and humans. If you are interested in learning about more pet friendly plants, check out Podcast Ep#31 for more info or the corresponding blog post!


Instagram Q&A

I asked followers if they had any specific plant questions I could address in this podcast and blog. Here are the questions and answers for the Duranta...


"I have never heard of them? Are they traditionally a landscape plant?"

  • In nature, yes they are! Because of the higher maintenance and difficulty, they are not commonly used as houseplants. Many people use them more as annual trees or shrubs in summer seasonal planters.


 

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Always written with extreme plant passion!

Love, Holly (Owner & Creator of Houseplant Homebody LLC)

 

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