December 2021 Plant of the month Cape Honeysuckle

Plant Form: Semi-Evergreen vine, shrub

Water Use: Low

Mature Size: 5-6 ft. tall x 3-4 ft. wide

Exposure: Full sun, part shade

Bloom Time: Fall (Sept-Nov), Winter (Dec)

Hardiness: Cold Hardy to 23°F

Native to: South Africa

Cape Honeysuckle bursts into bloom with a welcomed splash of color late in the season. Clusters of red-orange trumpet-shaped flowers attract butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds, just in time for migration. This beautiful shrub has glossy leaves divided into leaflets, and sprawling, vine-like stems that can be trained against a wall or trellis as an espalier, or sheared into a hedge, screen, or accent shrub. Even with its rambling spirit, it is easy to care form tolerating heat, drought, and poor soils, all while resisting browsing by deer and rabbits. Blooms best in full sun. In colder areas, it may drop its leaves, while in warmer zones, it is evergreen and may bloom nearly all year. Prune back unruly branches, and cut off old or damaged branches at their base to maintain shape. This versatile plant will let you decide whether it will be a climbing vine, hedge, border plant, screen, shrub, or ground cover. It will even be happy in a container on your porch or patio.


Winter begins and plant growth is on hold until February

  • Prune to shape evergreens like arborvitae, juniper, pines, and cypress – and save trimmings for holiday decorations 
  • Prune dense trees to avoid wind damage; make sure young trees are well-stalked
  • For overnight protection when frost threatens, cover delicate plants with large cardboard boxes, old sheets, or tarps
  • Consider setting irrigation timers to “off”, and manually water in response to our irregular winter weather, based on winds, rain, or snow.  Using the manual mode on your controller in winter can save precious water.