How to Grow Tecomaria — Cape Honeysuckle

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Tecomaria–commonly called cape honeysuckle–is a large evergreen vine or many-branched shrub that bears showy clusters of bright orange to red, trumpet-shaped flowers from summer through early winter. Tecomaria grows as a climbing shrub that sometimes in frost-free regions can become the size of a small tree.

Tecomaria is native to South Africa where it grows in frost-free coastal regions. It is also found from southern California to Argentina. It is often used as a clipped or sprawling shrub on slopes. It can be trained onto a trellis or espaliered.

Tecomaria grows 6 to 22 feet (2-7m) tall or more. It will become well-established quickly when given regular deep watering.

Tecomaria is a genus of 12 species of evergreen climbers or scrambling shrubs. Tecomaria is synonymous with the genus Tecoma.

Get to know Tecomaria

  • Plant type: Evergreen climber, scrambling shrub
  • Growing zones and range: Zones 10-15
  • Hardiness: Hardy to Zone 10
  • Height and width: 6 to 22 feet (2-7m) tall, 3 to 10 feet (1-3m) wide
  • Foliage: Ovate-oblong to rounded leaves
  • Flowers: Narrowly bell- to funnel-shaped, 5-lobed, yellow, orange, or red flowers in dense terminal racemes
  • Bloom time: Summer
  • Uses: Scrambling plant, specimen
  • Common name: Cape honeysuckle
  • Botanical name: Tecomaria, syn. Tecoma
  • Family name: Bignoniaceae
  • Origin: South Africa, southern United States to Argentina
Cape Honeysuckle, Tecomaria capensis
Cape Honeysuckle, Tecomaria capensis

Where to plant Tecomaria

  • Plant Tecomaria in full sun.
  • Plant Tecomaria in humus-rich, moist, but well-drained soil.

When to plant Tecomaria

  • Set container-grown Tecomaria in the garden in spring or autumn.

Planting and spacing Tecomaria

  • Space Tecomaria 10 to 15 feet apart.

How to water and feed Tecomaria

  • Water Tecomaria to keep the soil just moist during the growing season; water sparingly in winter.
  • Fertilize Tecomaria with a half-strength balanced liquid fertilizer monthly.

Tecomaria care

  • Scrambling species can be trained over an arbor.

Growing Tecomaria as a houseplant

  • Tecomaria can be grown in a large pot in a cool or temperate greenhouse.

Tecomaria pests and diseases

  • Spider mites can attack Tecomaria.
Yellow Elder, Trumpet bush, Tecoma stans
Yellow Elder, Trumpet bush, Tecoma stans

Tecomaria propagation

  • Sow Tecomaria seed in spring.
  • Root semi-ripe cuttings with bottom heat in summer.
  • Layer Tecomaria in spring or autumn.

Tecomaria varieties to grow

  • Tecomaria capensis, Cape honeysuckle. Erect, scrambling evergreen shrub; bears slender, tubular orange to scarlet flowers; elliptic-ovate mid to dark green lustrous leaves; grows 6 to 22 feet tall.
  • T. stans, trumpet bush, yellow bells, yellow elder. Ascending, large shrub; grows 15 to 28 feet long; funnel-shaped, bright yellow flowers in terminal racemes from late winter to summer; pinnate leaves are bright green.

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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