Tecomaria – Summer & Winter Blooms to Feed the Hummingbirds!
Tecomaria is a bright and beautiful shrubby vine, also known as the Cape Honeysuckle as it originates from South Africa. Since this plant is from the southern hemisphere, we get to enjoy the blooms throughout the winter, like other South African plants. This is particularly true in our milder climate, as Tecomaria will keep its leaves if temperatures don’t go below freezing. The common name Cape Honeysuckle is a little misleading, as it is not in the family of Caprifoliaceae with other honeysuckles but instead in the Bignoniaceae family with trees that have similar large, trumpet shaped flowers, such as Jacaranda and Catalpa, and another vine – Pandorea. All of these plants put on a striking show during bloom time. Another family similarity is compound leaves. This means that a single leaf is made up of a divided leaflet, which looks like it is many leaves growing from one stem but is actually classified as being one leaf. The foliage of Tecomaria is a handsome shiny, dark green which contrasts beautifully with their yellow, red, and pink blooms.
Tecomaria ‘Cape Town’ Cultivars
The straight species of Tecomaria capensis grows up to 20′ and 8′ wide. It has woodier stems than some other vines that need more support. However, the ‘Cape Town’ cultivars are non-vining and don’t need a trellis to grow on. Tecomaria ‘Cape Town’ cultivars are a great choice for smaller Bay Area Gardens as they are compact and don’t grow too big, reaching only 4-5′ tall and 3′ wide. This gives them a more shrubby appearance than Tecomaria capensis. They start blooming in summer, continuing into the fall and winter with no frosts. The ‘Cape Town’ cultivars have upward facing blooms and can re-bloom. Pruning can help stimulate more flower production. Hummingbirds and butterflies are attracted to the large, nectar-filled flowers. USDA Zones: 9a-11b.
Planting and Care for Tecomaria Species
- Plant in full sun to part shade for best results.
- Plant in soil with good drainage.
- Water regularly but allow to dry out in between watering.
- Mix in compost to enrich the soil.
- Mulch around the roots to keep roots cool and conserve soil moisture.
- Fertilize once a month with an organic general purpose fertilizer such as E.B. Stone Organics All Purpose Plant Food.
- Deadhead to stimulate more flowers.