A flowering shrub that always caught my eye is called the Cape Honeysuckle. The Cape honeysuckle is a vigorous evergreen shrub that produces reddish orange, apricot-orange, salmon-orange, or yellow tubular flowers. Originally from South Africa, the Cape honeysuckle is not a true honeysuckle, its flowers simply resemble this other well-loved plant. A wonderful fall/winter bloomer, the cape honeysuckle is a flowering treat.
By nature, the Cape honeysuckle is a very vigorous grower best suited for full sun with well-drained, average soil. Once established, they are pretty drought tolerant and take salt spray well. In addition to the glossy green foliage, the flowers are attractive to butterflies such as Sulphur butterflies, bees and hummingbirds.
You can get the Cape honeysuckle in four color cultivars. The red one is most common and is very vigorous growing well over twelve feet if left unpruned. You could almost consider this shrub vine-like and train its sprawling growth by attaching it to a fence. The Cape honeysuckle can also be trained as an espalier, over walls, or over an arch. For more compact growth, the salmon-orange cultivar is a good selection. The color really appealed to me as did the more controllable growth. This cultivar still needs some pruning to keep it in bounds, but otherwise it is very manageable. In addition to these varieties, there is an apricot version with orange pinkish flowers, and a nice clear yellow cultivar which rounds out a nice choice of colors.
While you will get a smattering of blooms throughout theb year, fall and winter flowering will be most abundant. The Cape honeysuckle is extremely easy to propagate by softwood cuttings and/or seeds. The shrub also has the ability to root when the branches lay on the ground while still attached to the mother plant.
The Cape honeysuckle is an amazing flowering shrub that should have a niche in your landscape! For more information on all types of flowering shrubs suitable for our area, please call our Master Gardener volunteers on the Plant Lifeline on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 1 to 4 pm at 764-4340 for gardening help and insight into their role as an Extension volunteer. Don't forget to visit our other County Plant Clinics in the area. Please check this link for a complete list of site locations, dates and times - http://charlotte.ifas.ufl.edu/horticulture/Plant%20Clinics%20Schedule.pdf.
Christman, S. (2008) Tecomaria capensis. Floridata.com, Tallahassee, FL.
Gulf Coast Research and Education Center Plant City Teaching Garden. (2016) Cape Honeysuckle Tecoma capensis. The University of Florida Extension Service, IFAS.Lemke, C. (2012) Cal's Plant of the Week: Tecomaria capensis - Cape Honeysuckle . The University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology.