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

December 15, 2016

The best flowering plant for Phoenix, Arizona - Cape Honeysuckle

If you live in Phoenix, Arizona, or anywhere that gets hot in the summer, and cooler in the winter, from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, the best flowering plant is the Cape Honeysuckle.

Not only do they bloom beautifully all winter, they're fine in the heat of the summer, and have lush, tropical leaves. And hummingbirds love them, too!

I just can't say enough about this plant. They're cheap, readily available at Home Depot, grow strongly, and be kept at a reasonable size (I keep mine about three feet tall). They require very little water, and well, did I mention how great they are?

The only drawback would be if you were a compulsively neat gardener, who insisted that all of their plants be constantly trimmed back into "pom-poms". That's because if you trim your Cape Honeysuckle like that, it will never, ever bloom. I've seen Cape Honeysuckle trimmed up into shapes from a Dr. Seuss book, and it's just sad. Let them grow, let them bloom!

No, you don't have to let them get all shaggy, but you do have to watch out where you trim. The flowers bloom on longer stalks, like rose bushes do. If you cut them back all of the time, they'll never bloom. I'll tell you what I do:

I let them get kinda shaggy in the summer, and then I cut them way back. As they grow back, I trim them by hand with a pruner (not hedge trimmers!). After a while you get to where you can easily recognize which stalks have flower buds on them, and which don't. You cut off the "which don't", and leave the flower buds alone.

Cape Honeysuckle is gorgeous. The blooms are gorgeous, the foliage is gorgeous. It's not a fussy plant, like a rose bush, but it is a flowering bush. It's December 15th, and I just took the photo at the top of this post a few minutes ago. And more to come!
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