The Q&A Archives: Cape Honeysuckle Dying

Question: We planted a row of tecomaria capensis three years ago as a hedge-screen across the back of our property against a street. We have pruned them back on the inside to preserve space on the terrace. Very little pruning on the outside--just enough to keep them from protruding too far into the street. None on top. One has died, three nearby are a bit wan, the rest are vigorous. Wondering what could be the cause of the ones weakening and dying. All have received equal water, all from the same drip line. Could it be gophers? Could it be heat from repaving the street a few months ago? Adjacent plants are citrus, Pride of Madeira, ferns, tomatoes, Chinaberry, and star jasmine. Is there any indicator here of potential problems for this plant?

Thank you,


Answer: I think you're on the right track when you suspect there's an environmental problem or a soil problem. It's unusual for a row of similar plants to perform differently from one plant to another. I'd dig one up and check the root system; look for rodent damage or disease. Healthy roots should be creamy white inside; diseased roots will be brown or rusty colored. Look for gnawed or missing roots, etc. I think you'll determine the cause after inspecting the root systems. Best wishes with your garden!

« Click to go to the homepage

» Ask a question of your own

Q&A Library Searching Tips

  • When singular and plural spellings differ, as in peony and peonies, try both.
  • Search terms are not case sensitive.

Today's site banner is by Fleur569 and is called "Shamrock Zinfandel"