Michael Charters, www.calflora.net
Plant Common Name
This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.
Certain to attract hummingbirds, desert honeysuckle explodes with orange-red colored blossoms from midsummer to fall. A deciduous shrub that attains an irregularly rounded shape with upright branches, it is native to the Edwards Plateau of Texas into northernmost Mexico.
The dull light to medium green leaves are small and lance-like, sometimes having a hint of white or silver on them. Beginning as early as midsummer, peaking in early autumn and waning until late autumn, the branch tips are lined with tubular flowers, each with four thin petals. Hummingbirds and butterflies frequent the flowers that later become brown seed capsules that release the black seeds. The Texan crescent butterfly uses this shrub as a larval food source. Only in frost-free areas may foliage partially linger across the entire winter. Elsewhere it is deciduous, revealing an interesting bark.
Grow desert honeysuckle in full to partial sun in any well-draining soil that is dry to moist in the heat of the growing season. Ensure clay soil is friable with organic matter added and never becomes soggy. Having good drought tolerance, occasional watering in severe dry periods will ensure better flowering. This shrub is killed back to its roots in regions with mild, subfreezing winters. Shrub forms may be pruned back to one-half or two-thirds their original heights before the new spring growth starts for a more compact growth habits leading into the later summer blooming. Protect young, recently planted plants from rabbits with a wire fence during the winter. Any stems thinner than that of a pencil may also be quickly eaten by rabbits on established plants. Variety wrightii is the preferred selection for garden use as its form and flowering are attractive.
AHS Heat Zone
12 - 7
USDA Hardiness Zone
8 - 11
H1, H2, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23
Full Sun, Partial Sun
4'-5' / 1.2m - 1.5m
4'-5' / 1.2m - 1.5m
Early Summer, Summer, Late Summer, Early Fall, Fall
North America, Southwestern United States, Texas, Mexico
Feature Plant, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall
Sharp or Has Thorns