Tecomeria Capensis – Outdoor Plant
Tecoma capensis, the Cape honeysuckle, is a species of flowering plant in the family Bignoniaceae, native to southern Africa. Despite its common name, it is not closely related to the true honeysuckle.
Cape honeysuckle is a tropical plant that grows well in full sun or partial shade. In its native habitat, Cape honeysuckle is often found growing in dappled light in the forest understory. In extremely hot climates, it may actually do better in partial shade locations. The denser the shade, however, the less vigorous the blooming.
This plant does well in almost any soil type provided it is well-drained. Don’t fret about the pH of your soil too much, as this plant can handle both acidic and alkaline soils. It also grows well in salty locations like coastal regions.
Water your Cape honeysuckle weekly (about 1 inch) if you are growing it in full sun, or just once or twice a month if it is in shade. After a year of regular watering, the roots should be established enough to provide drought tolerance.
Cape honeysuckle is a tropical plant that thrives in hardiness zones 9–11. It is heat and drought tolerant, but its branches and leaves tend to die back at temperatures under 25 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you’ve tested the soil and determined it is lacking in nutrients, go ahead and feed it annually with a balanced fertilizer. In most cases, though, feeding is not needed for this vigorous grower.
Pruning your Cape honeysuckle depends on the shape you’ve chosen for it. If you’re going for a hedge, trimming may be required on a regular basis since this grows fast. Cut it back to the ground every three to four years in the spring (or as needed) to help keep it from sprawling. You should also prune away branches that get damaged by frost at the start of spring. This plant freely produces suckers. Clip them away if you don’t want them to spread. Less maintenance will be needed if you are using it as a vine—you will just need to keep it trained on its support system.
Propagating Cape Honeysuckle
Because Cape honeysuckle produces suckers, the plant will naturally propagate itself for you. You can also propagate the plant with softwood cuttings.
To propagate with suckers:
- You can simply wait until a sucker has rooted and produced new growth, then you can clip the stem connecting it to the main plant, dig it up, and move to where you would like it.
- Help the process along if you wish by burying the off-shooting stems in the spring. Then in the fall, once the new growth is established, simply cut the stem connecting it to the main plant, dig it up and place it where you want it.
To propagate with softwood cuttings:
- Use sharp pruners to clip off a 5-inch-long softwood stems. Trim off all except the top leaves.
- If the base of your cuttings are woody, use your shears to scrape off some of the bark. Dip the base of the cutting in rooting hormone.
- Plant the cutting in a pot filled with standard potting mix. (You can mix coco peat and perlite into the soil to improve chances for for success.)
- Keep the cuttings moist and at a temperature of between 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Placing a plastic bag over the pot can help retain moisture.
- Expose the cuttings to a normal daylight schedule. The roots will be established in 2 to 14 weeks, at which time they can be transplanted to your yard or garden.
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