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



October 14, 2015

Why your Cape Honeysuckle isn't blooming


It's mid-October and your Cape Honeysuckle should be starting to bloom now in the Phoenix area. If it isn't, it's probably your fault, but don't worry, it's an easy fix.

If you're a neat gardener who is always trimming plants into tidy shapes and cutting back runners, you are probably making it impossible for your Cape Honeysuckle to bloom. The blooms occur at the end of long branches. So if you want blooms, this is how you do it:

• Trim the whole plant down to the stubs. Yeah, I know that's kind of extreme, but it's what they do with rose bushes. Then the plant puts its energy into long stems and large flowers.

• Let the plant grow back with long branches. Don't trim them back to keep them neat. Don't shape the plant. Let it get rangy.

• Learn what the flower buds look like. Take a close look at the photo above. The leaf shape where a flower will emerge is slightly different. So whenyou see it, leave it alone. That's where the flowers will form. Once you recognize this, you can go ahead and trim errant branches off that don't have flowers forming on the ends.

There you go. Cape Honeysuckle flowers profusely all winter here in the Phoenix area, and in addition to being beautiful, attracts hummingbirds. So get blooming!
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