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Agriculture Today

Hummingbirds drawn to cape honeysuckle

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South Texas Gardener
July 25, 2012 | 3,615 views | Post a comment

Q. Tell me about cape honeysuckle. I read that it was a good hummingbird plant.

A. Yes, cape honeysuckle is a vine-like plant that sends out long sturdy shoots that lean against a support rather than attach themselves. It has small (2 inch) tubular orange-red blooms that are showy from July through the first frost. It is usually used as a vine but I have seen it pruned as a shrub. The leaves resemble trumpet creeper foliage. Hummingbirds like it very much.

Q. Which is the best St. Augustine grass and why?

A. My favorite St. Augustine variety is Floratam. Floratam had superior drought tolerance in tests conducted by the Texas Turfgrass Producers, Texas A&M, and SAWS. It stayed greener longer and greened up faster than all other St. Augustine varieties and even the zoysia selections in a test with no moisture for 60 days. Floratam is also resistant to damage from chinch bugs and brown patch.

Floratam’s one weakness is that it is more cold sensitive than other selections. It should not be used north of Austin because of the cold sensitivity.

Q. My moss roses look terrible. They are all stems and no leaves or blooms. Could they have a disease?

A. The usual problem that causes moss rose decline is overwatering. The soil must be allowed to dry out between watering. They are not susceptible to any disease that I know.

Q. If I use Roundup on the live oak suckers, will it hurt the mother tree? They are driving me crazy.

A. It is not recommended that Roundup be used to kill live oak suckers because they are connected to the roots of a large oak. Chances are small that the glyphosate that is trans-located will cause noticeable change but it is not worth the risk.

Calvin Finch is a horticulturist and the San Antonio Water System’s director of water resources. Hear him on “Gardening South Texas” on KLUP 930 AM radio Saturdays noon to 2 p.m., and 1-3 p.m. Sundays. Or, email him at

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