The Q&A Archives: Yellowing Cape Honeysuckle

Question: I have about fifteen Cape Honeysuckles. They flower orange. They are a couple of years old and have thrived along our fenceline. They are over twelve feet tall and very green and healthy. We keep them pruned and controlled and have been doing well until recently, when three of the plants suddenly died for no apparent reason. We dug them up and the roots were intact. (no moles, etc.) Now, the rest of the plants are beginning to yellow and we're worried. They receive plenty of water and have done well in the past. What should we do?

Answer: It's really difficult to diagnose a plant problem without actually seeing it. In your case, we may really have to put on our detective caps and look at everything that might affect your cape honeysuckles. Start with sunlight exposure. Any changes? How about excessive heat or unseasonal heat and drought? If you've ruled that out, has anything changed in the way you water or your source of water? Has the drainage changed over the past few months? (New retaining wall, sidewalk, change in grade anywhere near your honeysuckle plants?) How about fertilizer or herbicide, insecticide applications nearby? Have you inspected your plants for insect infestation? (check upper and lower leaf surfaces and stems).

If you've ruled out all these possibilities, you may need to take a sample of stems and leaves to your local Cooperative Extension office where they can inspect the plant parts under a microscope.

Best wishes with your cape honeysuckle plants!

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