Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Backyard Nature Wednesday: Cape honeysuckle

Tecoma capensis, commonly called Cape honeysuckle, is a glorious fall bloomer. The name "Cape honeysuckle" comes from the fact that the plant's native region is around the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. In this country, it thrives in regions 9-11 and can survive and do well in region 8 with some protection. In my zone 9a garden, it does very well indeed.

Cape honeysuckle is not a true honeysuckle but its blossoms are full of nectar and it is very attractive to pollinators of all kinds, including hummingbirds. The rampantly growing plant can produce some blossoms throughout the year, but its major bloom cycle comes in late summer and fall when other plants are winding down. In my garden, the blooms are at their height in November. They are a beacon to the hummingbirds that migrate through here at this time.

This is a large plant that needs plenty of space. It can grow to 10 feet tall, but one of its saving graces is that it can be pruned ruthlessly to keep it in the size you want. Just be sure you don't prune it at the wrong time or you'll prune all the buds off. It can take full sun, even the hot Texas sun. But it will also thrive in some light shade. In other words, it is a very versatile plant that requires practically no care. Hummingbirds love it, butterflies love it, and I love it. It has been a wonderful addition to my garden and, if you live in an appropriate region, I highly recommend it for an addition to yours.   

8 comments:

  1. Ooooh - I need to get one of these! Not sure where I would put it, but I'm sure I could find somewhere.

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    1. If you've got a place along your fence that can provide some support, that would be a good spot for it. It grows naturally in a vine-like form but can be pruned to be kept as a shrub.

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  2. Such a photogenic plant. Thanks for the history of the name. I love mine just because it is a rampant grower. It is huge after only 2 years while I wait for other things that take longer to "arrive" as it were.

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    1. "Rampant" certainly describes it well. It could take over the garden if allowed free rein.

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  3. I think I've seen those in the Caribbean. Is it possible? Yours is certainly beautiful at this time of year.

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    1. Quite possible. They would do well in that region.

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