The Cape Honeysuckle bonsai, formally known as Tecoma Capensis, is a beautiful, unique shrub. The leaves on these trees grow in pairs up the branches and are glossy and green. They grow very small, only 2 to 5 centimeters long, and can be kept smaller with pruning.
Hummingbirds are very attracted to this plant because of its trumpet shaped flowers filled with nectar. The colors of these flowers range from red to yellow to coral.
How to Care for Cape Honeysuckle Bonsai
As a low maintenance bonsai, these trees are perfect for beginners looking to step into the bonsai growing world. You can place these trees indoors or outdoors, depending on your climate. Keep their soil consistently moist. Feed throughout the growth period and stop once winter starts. Pruning should be done regularly and wiring can be done, but it should occur in the beginning of the tree’s life if possible. Pests are unlikely to occur, but diseases are common.
Indoor or Outdoor?
Cape Honeysuckle bonsai can be grown indoors or outdoors. Plenty of morning light and some afternoon shade is preferred. The shade in the afternoon will help keep the tree’s soil moist. Do not place them in a spot where they will receive constant shade, as this will stunt their growth, which is very harmful to the bonsai. Protect these trees from frost in the winter.
An indoor tree should be placed at a south facing window where it can get lots of light for most, but not all of, the day.
As with all bonsai trees, do not water your Cape Honeysuckle on a routine. Instead, water the tree when it needs to be watered. Do not let this tree dry out, as it likes to be constantly moist.
Since this tree likes moist soil, it is crucial that you also have a well-draining soil so that the frequent watering doesn’t cause the tree to become pot-bound. Pot-bound bonsai’s roots are compact, which doesn’t allow the roots to soak up any water or nutrients.
Feed these bonsai with bone meal fertilizer. This fertilizer has a high potassium content. Potassium encourages growth of the plant in its entirety. To encourage these trees to flower, feed them with a high phosphorus content as well.
Apply fertilizer throughout the duration of the growth period. This is from spring to autumn, or March to November.
Solid organic fertilizer should be applied monthly. Alternatively, you can apply liquid fertilizer weekly by putting it in a watering can filled with water and watering as you normally would.
Pruning should be done regularly to keep the tree small. Dense foliage can be achieved throughout pruning the branches back to a single pair of leaves. Allow the tree to grow normally if you want flowers to appear. Don’t be afraid to prune these trees heavily. Fresh buds will grow back after being pruned.
Wire these bonsai in the beginning of their lives. As they mature, it becomes harder to wire the branches and trunk. You can also wire right after heavy pruning. Wire with aluminum or copper wire and check on the bark to make sure it isn’t cutting into the tree.
Common Pests and Diseases
It is rare for these trees to be affected by pests. Fungal problems are much more likely to occur. These include root rot caused by overwatering and leaves dying as a result of under-watering. If over-watering is occurring frequently, try switching your tree to a well-draining soil and not watering every single day. Check the soil before watering. Under-watering can be seen in the leaves dying and falling off the tree. Fix this by checking the soil and watering when the soil gets slightly dry.
Frost is another huge Cape Honeysuckle bonsai killer. Protect the tree from frost by placing it in a greenhouse or indoors in the winter. Permanent growth problems will occur if exposed to frost.
Despite the name, the Cape Honeysuckle bonsai is not a honeysuckle at all. This shrub can be grown anywhere where it can get plenty of light and afternoon shade. Soil should be moist at all times, but be careful not to let the roots develop root rot. Feed during the growth season, not in the winter. Prune aggressively all year to maintain the tree’s shape. It is hard to wire mature bark, so do as much wiring as you like while it is still young. Pests will not bother your Cape Honeysuckle if it is properly cared for, but fungal diseases are quite common. We know you will love having this beautiful bonsai in your home.