Tecomaria capensis, or Cape Honeysuckle, is a rambling, evergreen shrub native to South Africa. The ultimate height of this shrub is 6-8 feet (1.8-2.4 m) tall and has a 5 foot (1.5 m) spread. With support, the stems can reach over 25 feet (7.6 m) tall. The bright green leaves are compound to 6 inches (15 cm) long with 5-7 leaflets. Leaflets are elliptical to ovate to 2 inches (5 cm) long with serrated margins. Plants that are trimmed regularly make a good hedge or they can be trimmed to be treelike. If left untrimmed and with support, they can be grown as a vine. Much like our own Trumpet Vine they can become very weedy if not trimmed and left to scramble. They are very easy to grow whether in the landscape or in containers. Plants are hardy in USDA zone 9-11.
Blooming: In the greenhouse, the plants will bloom sporadically all year long with the best flushes in the fall and winter months when there is not much else blooming. Flowers are in terminal inflorescences and are orange-red to scarlet, 2 inches (5 cm) long with protruding stamens. Very showy winter color, if you live in a warm area.
Culture: Tecomaria capensis does best in full sun to light shade with a very well drained soil mix. In containers in the greenhouse, we use a soil mix consisting of 1 part peat moss to 1 part loam to 2 parts sand. The plants are well watered and allowed to dry before watering again. We fertilize them only once during the growing season. We do this in late summer to help boost the fall-winter blooming period. After plants have bloomed in the spring, we trim the plants to help keep them inbounds. Any transplanting is also done at this time. During the winter months we allow temperatures to drop to 48°F (9°C). The plants tolerate these nighttime temps and bloom very well.
Propagation: Tecomaria capensis is propagated by cuttings, removal of suckers and from seed.
Tecomaria capensis was featured as Plant of the Week August 29-September 4, 2008.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.