This blog is about growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area

August 31, 2013

The first Cape Honeysuckle flower of the season

It's August 31st, and while it's not exactly "sweater weather" yet here in the Phoenix, Arizona area, it's at least the beginning of the end of wondering, "what in the world am I doing living here in this desert?" And the first herald of cooler weather is the Cape Honeysuckle (Tecoma capensis) flower.

If you have Cape Honeysuckle, and aren't getting blooms, you may be doing two things wrong. First of all, you may be looking for blooms in the heat of the summer. You won't see any. This plant blooms in cool temperatures. And the other mistake is to use hedge trimmers. This is a flowering plant, like a rose. Do not use hedge trimmers! Yes, you can cut the plant down to any size you want, but trim by hand. Taking hedge trimmers (especially powered ones) and giving it a nasty "haircut" will make it nearly impossible for it to bloom. You wouldn't do that to a rose bush would you? If you did, your rose bush wouldn't be able to bloom, either.

Anyway, trim with care. Watch what you are doing. If you see a cluster of leaves that looks like it is about to bloom, pass it by with the clippers. Once the bloom is spent, go ahead and trim it off. I've had Cape Honeysuckle here at The Tropical Paradise for many years and it blooms like mad. All we need is some cooler temperatures!

Come on, "Chamber of Commerce weather"!
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