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tree of the week Tecoma capensis – Cape honeysuckle – Kaapse kanferfoelie

Tecoma capensis – Cape honeysuckle – Kaapse kanferfoelie

Tecoma capensis is indigenous to South Africa and perfectly suited to our rugged climate. Fast growing with a scrambling form, Cape honeysuckle may grow up to 2 – 3 m tall and has a spread of approximately 2.5 m. In warmer areas the shrub is evergreen, but it can lose its leaves in colder locations. The distribution of this tree stretches from the southern part of the Western cape, along the coast through the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, then into Mpumalanga.

Although the multiple branches give the plant and untidy appearance, they provide ideal nesting spots for birds. An added attraction is the clusters of tubular flowers that appear at the ends of branches and entice birds and butterflies to the garden. The flowers are bold orange in colour flowering time is fairly erratic. In general, Cape honeysuckle will bloom from autumn to spring, but can flower all year round.

Drought hardy, the shrub will tolerate poor soil conditions, heat, wind and coastal conditions. It is however sensitive to frost and should be protected accordingly. This tree is deal as an ornamental screening or hedge plant and responds well to pruning.

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