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Cape Honeysuckle | A Colorful Flowering Tropical Plant That Gardeners Love


Cape Honeysuckle | A Colorful Flowering Tropical Plant That Gardeners Love

Cape honeysuckle (Tecoma capensis)

A truly fetching beauty, cape honeysuckle (tecoma capensis) is a hardy, fast-growing ornamental evergreen shrub which is native to South Africa. Drought and salt tolerant, and relatively pest free, here in the United States, cape honeysuckle can grow hardly in sub-tropical regions such as California, Hawaii and south Florida.

Cape honeysuckle is typically grown as a flowering spreading shrub, but can easily be trained as a stunning vine which features long, tubular flowers (the most popular color is orange or red orange, but peach and yellow varieties are available) which attracts hummingbirds, bees, butterflies and birds. The flowers generally bloom all year, there is no set blooming time. Although, it is named as honeysuckle, cape honeysuckle is not a true honeysuckle.

Cape Honeysuckle can grow from 4 to 10 feet in height and width if grown as a flowering shrub.  If grown as a vine, they can grow from 20-30 feet long and will need sturdy support. Depending on your planting preference (shrub or vine), they should be planted at least 5-6 feet apart. The plants thrive in full sun but can tolerate light shade. They also require well-draining average soil with a light amendment of compost when first planted and light applications of a balanced fertilizer in spring and summer. It has moderate watering needs (water deeply once a week). It can be pruned lightly in late fall after blooming but only slightly once a year or it can be irreparably damaged.

Cape honeysuckle can be grown containers if provided with good potting soil, excellent drainage and given the correct sun exposure; full sun or part shade. New nursery bought transplants should be planted in container 2 inches taller than their current pot and another 2 inches as it grows. If grown in containers, watering needs should be closely monitored but only water if the top two inches of the soil is completely dry. They will benefit from a feeding in early spring from a slow-release fertilizer. The plants will need to be sheltered in the winter in mild regions and brought indoors to overwinter in cold climates.

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