Tecoma capenis (Cape Honeysuckle)

  • TropPlant Accession Number (TPAN): 0153
  • Botanical Name: Tecoma capenis
  • Common Name: Cape Honeysuckle
  • Cultivar: N/A
  • Family: Bignoniaceae
Tecoma capenis 
Photo by Matthew Gaston

  • Native To: Southern Africa

Landscaping Information

    • Plant Type: Sprawling Shrub
    • Texture: Fine, Dense
    • Form: Hedged to Upright Sprawling to Irregular
    • Height (on average, in landscape use):  4'
    • Height to Spread Ratio: 2:1 (More of an upright sprawling type)
    • Growth Rate: Fast
    • Landscape Values: Background, Border, Color, Edging, Facer, Filler, Foundation, Framing,  Hedge, Lanai, Patio, Quick Effect, Screen, Space Division, Erosion Control
    • Outstanding Quality: Flower Color, Seasonal Color
    Tecoma capenis as a hedge 
    Photo by Matthew Gaston


    Botanical Descriptions

    • Flowers: bilaterally symmetric; green 5-toothed floral cup (calyx); 5 orange to scarlet petals (corolla); stamens and pistil protrude beyond the corolla. Arranged on a determinant inflorescence.
    Tecoma capenis flowers
    Photo by Matthew Gaston

    Tecoma capenis flowers prior to opening
    Photo by Matthew Gaston

    Tecoma capenis flowers
    Photo by Matthew Gaston

    • Fruits: Dehiscent capsule, 3"-5" long
    • Foliage Color: Young/immature: Yellow Green. Mature: Bright Medium Green to Dark Green
    • Leaflet Tip: Rounded to Obtuse
    • Foliage Base: Rounded to Obtuse
    • Stipules: N/A
    • Margins: Serrate
    • Leaf Arrangement: Opposite
    • Leaf Shape:  Elliptic 
    • Leaf Type: Once Pinnate, Odd-Pinnate, usually 7-11 Leaflets
    • Leaf Texture: Waxy, glabrous, somewhat thin, structured with prominent venation and leaf margins. 
    • Leaf Special Notes: Pinnate leaves with a good deal of texture and structure making this plant appear very fine from afar and a plant of intrigue at a close distance. The oddly pinnate leaves give a sort of sharp and upward appearance- fitting for this scrambling, rambling plant.
    Tecoma capenis younger leaves
    Photo by Matthew Gaston

    Tecoma capenis older leaves
    Photo by Matthew Gaston

    Tecoma capenis adaxial leaf surface
    Photo by Matthew Gaston

    Tecoma capenis abaxial leaf surface
    Photo by Matthew Gaston

    • Bark and Trunk: Young shoots are smooth, green, and covered in lenticels. Older stems become wooded, but still smooth. Older shoots are gently mottled light brown to gray, twiggy; periodic fissures. Lenticels present, especially noticeable when shoots are young.
    Tecoma capenis stems. Pardon the poor focusing on stems. 
    Photo by Matthew Gaston

    Horticultural Information

      • Light Preference: Full Sun
      • Light Tolerances: Semi-Sun 
      • Soil Preferences:  Acidic to Slightly Acidic, Organic, Dry (Mesic), Dry (Xeric) Well-Drained.
      • Tolerances: Acidic, Compacted Soil, Salt Air, Moderate Winds, Humidity, Regular Watering, Drought
      • Water Requirements: Moderate to Low watering. Tolerates nearly all watering conditions, but prefers the drier side of the spectrum with well drained soil.Wet roots for too long will lead to rot. Considered a xeriscape plant. 
      • Notes on Maintenance: A scrambling shrub, which sends out long shoots (almost vine-like). These long shoots that project out can be cut to maintain a clean shape or allowed to grow for a natural, yet messy appearance. Trim frequently to maintain flowering. Often trimmed into an orderly hedge, but can be allowed to scramble along a slope or trellis. A versatile plant with many applications. Not typically affected by pests or disease. Does not tolerate wet roots for too long. Drought tolerant.
      • Propagation: Cutting, Division 
      • Minimum USDA Hardiness Zone: 9a
      • Weed Risk Assessment Score (WRA): 6,  Low Risk

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