How to Care for a Cape Honeysuckle
Cape honeysuckle (Tecomaria capensis) is not a true variety of honeysuckle. This evergreen vine rapidly grows to 30 feet in length. Cape honeysuckle grows outside in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 8 through 10. This tropical plant is damaged when temperatures fall below 29 degrees Fahrenheit. Freezing temperatures cause this vine to die back to the ground. When the temperatures warm up, cape honeysuckle plants grow again from the roots. Cape honeysuckle vines are used as foundation plants, informal hedges and tropical features around water. The vines require little care to grow year after year.
Plant the cape honeysuckle in an area with full sunlight. In hot, dry sites, place the vine in an area with light afternoon shade. Cape honeysuckle prefers soil that has a heavy sand content. This tropical vine needs protection from wind, which causes damage to the stems and leaves.
Feed the cape honeysuckle twice a year with a balanced fertilizer like 10-10-10 or 12-12-12. The numbers refer to the ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, respectively. Follow the directions on the package label to fertilize properly. Feed the vine once during early spring as new growth begins and then again in the middle of summer.
- Plant the cape honeysuckle in an area with full sunlight.
Sprinkle the planting area every week with water until new growth starts to show. Once the cape honeysuckle plant is established and growing strongly, soak the area with water once a month. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings.
Tie the cape honeysuckle branches with twine to a trellis as they begin to grow down toward the ground. For a sprawling ground cover, do not tie the plant upright.
Prune damaged branches back with a pair of sharp pruners whenever they occur. Every couple of years, cut the cape honeysuckle back to just a few inches tall. This rejuvenates the vine and prevents the plant from developing a woody, leggy stem.
- Sprinkle the planting area every week with water until new growth starts to show.
Karen Carter spent three years as a technology specialist in the public school system and her writing has appeared in the "Willapa Harbor Herald" and the "Rogue College Byline." She has an Associate of Arts from Rogue Community College with a certificate in computer information systems.