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

September 4, 2016

Getting flowers on your Cape Honeysuckle - step one

It's the first week of September here at the Tropical Paradise (which is in the Phoenix, Arizona area) and I just saw the first Cape Honeysuckle flower yesterday. And that means that cooler weather is (finally!) on its way. Because Cape Honeysuckle blooms in cool weather. If you know what to do for the plant, it will give you outrageous blooms all winter. But you have a decision to make.

If you want full, dense foliage, then you won't have many flowers. That is, if you want to trim it to look like a bush, you will be, naturally, trimming the flower buds off. Compare it to a rose bush. If you trimmed a rose bush with hedge trimmer, you'd get a nice, neat bush with plenty of foliage and few flowers. It's the same with Cape Honeysuckle.

Since I'd like flowers this winter, I started some drastic trimming today. But not with hedge trimmers! I clipped by hand, inspecting very carefully as I went along. If I saw a flower bud, I left it. And that means that the plant will look kinda rangy and viney in the winter. Because, like roses, Cape Honeysuckle flowers at the end of a long stem.

So step one is to trim the plant as drastically as you dare, one branch at a time, watching very carefully for flower buds (they look like the picture at the top of this post). If you're zinging along with a hedge trimmer, they're easy to miss. And once you've cut them off, they're gone. And if you keep trimming them off, to keep the bush neat and tidy, you won't really give your Cape Honeysuckle a chance to bloom. It's a question of whether you want a neatly-trimmed plant, or flowers.

Me, I choose flowers!

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