Cape honeysuckle - The Tecoma Capensis

Tecoma capensis is a pretty relative of the honeysuckle, albeit not a very close one, belonging to the Bignoniaceae family.

Did you know? Tecoma capensis is known as the Cape honeysuckle, and is indigenous to South Africa.

More often known as the Cape honeysuckle, Tecoma capensis is indigenous to South Africa and the southern portion of the neighbouring Mozambique. However, in recent years, it is being cultivated in a number of countries around the world for its beauty and ease of growth.


Tecoma capensis is a scrambling shrub that produces magnificent red, orange or yellow flowers, which have a distinctly tubular shape and measure about 7.5 centimetres in length. These flowers are arranged in clusters.

The oval leaves have blunt serrations. This plant grows to a height of between two and three metres, and spreads its pretty foliage for about 2.5 metres. It can be trimmed to form a hedge too. It is evergreen but, in very cold places, may lose its green foliage during the icy winter months.

Flowering time

The Tecoma capensis is particularly popular because it usually flowers almost all year round. The exact time for its blooms to appear differ slightly (depending on the health of the plant, the climate and so on), and many shrubs bear colourful flowers on a continual basis.

Use in the garden

The Tecoma capensis is an excellent choice for South African gardens, as it is attractive and usually flowers all year round. The flowers attract nectivorous birds (especially sunbirds) as well as butterflies for their sweet nectar. Some birds also use it as a site for their nests, thanks to its dense foliage, which is effective in supporting the nests. These birds and bugs add to the biodiversity of the garden and make for welcome visitors.

Natural distribution

ecoma capensis is a common plant throughout South Africa; including Limpopo, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and Cape Town and the Western Cape coast. Thus, it characterises a lot of the local landscape and imbues it with colourful bursts and vibrant vegetation.

Growing Tecoma capensis in your garden

This plant is easy to grow and propagate, making it a popular addition to just about any garden. Because it scrambles, it can be used to cover low walls or fill in large gaps between trees or other plants.

It requires semi-shade or full sun and should be pruned well in the late winter, as this will encourage flowering and the growth of the green foliage. A well-balanced fertiliser administered after pruning will benefit your Tecoma capensis enormously. Other than these minor efforts, this is a hardy plant that requires little management or assistance.


Tecoma capensis can be grown successfully from cuttings, which soon take root and become full-bodied, colourful hedges or scramblers. It is also responsive to its root suckers being removed and planted during the time in which the plant is experiencing active growth and development. While it is still young, it should be protected from frost and extreme cold (although these are rare in most parts of South Africa).

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