579 Tecomaria capensisCommon Names: Tecoma capensis (syn.), cape honeysuckle Family: Bignoniaceae (bignonia Family)
Cape honeysuckle is a sprawling, rampant, sometimes vine-like, shrub with evergreen, opposite, pinnately compound leaves about 6 in (15.2 cm) long. The 5-7 diamond-shaped leaflets are toothed and about 2 in (5.1 cm) long. Throughout fall and winter Cape honeysuckle produces clusters of brilliant red-orange to scarlet tubular flowers, each about 2 in (5.1 cm) long. If pruned to maintain as a shrub, it can reach 10 ft (3.1 m) or more in height and half as wide. If left to scramble, Cape honeysuckle can cover 25 ft (7.6 m) or more.
The cultivar, 'Apricot' is smaller and more compact with orange flowers. 'Aurea' has yellow flowers.
Cape honeysuckle originates from the Cape of Good Hope region of South Africa, where there are more endemic plant species (species that occur nowhere else) than any other area in the world. It has escaped from cultivation and become established in disturbed areas in Hawaii and Central Florida.
CultureLight: Full sun is best, but tolerates light shade. Moisture: Needs good drainage. Does best with regular water, but is moderately drought tolerant once established. Hardiness: USDA Zones 9 - 11. Hardy to at least 26ºF (-3.3ºC). Propagation: By softwood cuttings at any time of year and by seeds. Cape honeysuckle will take root where branches touch the ground.
Cape honeysuckle can be used as a climbing vine (it needs tying) or barrier hedge/screen, trained as a specimen shrub, or used as a ground cover on steep slopes or rocky banks. It is sometimes trained as an espalier. It is especially attractive cascading over walls or planters. It can be trained to a garden arch. Cape honeysuckle is tolerant of salt spray and accepts acidic to alkaline soils.
Cape honeysuckle attracts hummingbirds and orioles, and it flowers most of the winter. Grows rapidly. There are several closely related tropical American shrubs in the genus Tecoma (see Tecoma stans) which have similar flowers and cultural uses.
Steve Christman 10/30/99; updated 10/26/03, 5/11/04, 3/31/08