Growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area. With a wiener dog.



October 21, 2011

Blooming Cape Honeysuckle in Arizona


Cape Honeysuckle (Tecoma capensis) is one of the very best plants to have here in the Phoenix, Arizona area. It loves heat, has beautiful deep-green vining foliage, and beautiful orange tubular flowers. They start blooming when the temperatures get cooler, which is right now, so if you have some in your yard you should be seeing a lot of new blooms.

But if you aren't seeing blooms, it may be the fault of my arch-enemy, the hedge trimmers! Regular readers of Brad's Tropical Paradise know that I discourage the use of hedge trimmers on flowering plants. I am sure you have seen around town, plants that are shaped into "pom-poms" or "Dr. Seuss shapes" by hedge trimmers. Yes, it's fast and efficient, and you see a lot of this around professional buildings and schools, but it the absolute worst thing that you can do for your flowering shrubs.

By-pass pruner

Put away the hedge trimmers! Get out your hand-held by-pass pruner and watch what you are doing. By all means, trim Cape Honeysuckle to any size or shape you want. But look for the flower buds. And don't cut them off! Take a close look at the photo - you can see the leaf shape of a beginning flower bud even before the flowers start forming. Pass it by with your pruners and go snip elsewhere. And, of course, after the blooms are spent, cut them off. Then stand back! They will bloom like crazy all winter!

If you are wondering why there are so many flowers on the plants at the garden center, it's because they know not to cut off the flower buds!

By the way, this applies to all of your flowing shrubs, including your oleanders.
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