Cape honeysuckle (Tecomaria capensis) is a tropical climbing shrub that produces beautiful bright orange or yellow flowers during the late summer and autumn. Native to parts of Africa, this evergreen climber can grow 15 to 26 feet tall at maturity. The cape honeysuckle can grow as a hedge or as a vine-like climbing plant. The plant grows best in warmer climates, such as USDA hardiness zones 10 through 12, where the winter temperatures don’t drop below 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Cape honeysuckle is moderately drought-tolerant and can grow well either in full sun or in part shade.
Plant your cape honeysuckle where it has protection from wind and frost. Select a planting site that has well-draining soil and mix organic compost into the soil before planting.
Water your cape honeysuckle deeply once each week during the growing season. Water the plant slowly to soak the soil down to the root zone.
Feed your cape honeysuckle in the spring with a balanced fertilizer, such as a 12-12-12 NPK (nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium), according to the instructions on the label. Fertilize the plant a second time in the late summer, just as it begins to bloom.
Prune to shape your cape honeysuckle right after it’s finished flowering in the fall, if you’re growing it as a shrub or hedge. Shear the top and sides of the cape honeysuckle to maintain its shape, removing about half of the new growth.
Erect a trellis beside the cape honeysuckle, if you want to grow it as a climbing vine. Also plant the cape honeysuckle beside a fence to create a privacy screen. Tie the cape honeysuckle’s climbing stems to the trellis, arbor or fence using soft string or twine during the first season to help it along.
Prune your cape honeysuckle in the spring to thin out crowded branches and remove any dead or damaged growth.
Things You Will Need
- Organic compost
- Garden hose
- 12-12-12 NPK fertilizer
- Pruning tools
- Trellis or arbor (optional)
- Propagate your cape honeysuckle by collecting and planting the seeds in the fall, or by taking hardwood cuttings from the plant in the summer.
- Don't remove more than 1/3 of the cape honeysuckle's branches or growth in one year. This can stress the plant and even kill it.