- Author: Polly Nelson
- Editor: Noni Todd
By Polly Nelson UCCE Master Gardener
Common name: Cape Honeysuckle
Scientific name: Tecomaria Capensis
Planting Area: USDA 9-11
Size: 7-10 feet, or more, if not pruned regularly, 4-5 feet wide
Bloom Season: Summer through winter
Exposure: Full sun to part shade
Pruning needs: Frequent, depending on shape desired; deadhead
Water needs: Moderate to low
Snapshot: Cape honeysuckle is a fast-growing perennial woody plant that can be versatile addition to your landscape. This is not the common honeysuckle (Lonicera) you may be familiar with. Cape honeysuckle has origins in southern Africa and grows well in our Mediterranean climate.
The green, oblong leaves have slightly serrated edges and remain on the shrub throughout the year except during cold winters. The eye-catching blossoms present in clusters of two-inch trumpet shaped flowers in shades of yellow, red and orange. The nectar of the tubular flowers attracts hummingbirds, butterflies, bees, and other pollinators.
Cape honeysuckle will tolerate a range of soil types, from sandy to clay, but does require good drained. Once established, it requires weekly watering during the summer if planted in full sun. Less water is needed - only once or twice a month - if planted in a part shade.
Cape honeysuckle can be supported with a trellis and grow to be 7 feet or more, espaliered along a fence. Multiple plants can be planted in succession to form a hedge, or it can be planted as a stand-alone shrub. This versatile shrub can also be grown in a container, or as a ground cover on a steep slope. Prune lightly to remove dead or damaged branches and spent blooms. Prune aggressively if needed to maintain the desired size and shape.
Propagate cape honeysuckle by dividing the root ball in early winter or by making green stem cuttings in early summer. A third option is to plant seeds. Harvest seeds from the thin brown seed pods before the seeds are dispersed by the wind. Plant the seeds in early spring or autumn.
You can expect to see common insect pests such as mealybugs, whitefly, and scale. Monitor your plants weekly to identify these insects before the population increases. Wash them off with a strong stream of water to disrupt their lifecycle. Watch for ants around your plant as they will be attracted to these honeydew producing insects and will protect them from predators. Managing the ants will allow beneficial predatory insects to manage the mealybugs, whiteflies and scale insects. They will do the work for you!
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