Mexican Honeysuckle

justicia spicigera

Despite its common name Mexican honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera) is not a vine.

This drought and deer resistant perennial native to Mexico is a small shrub growing to around 2-3′ tall and wide. Here’s a stand with native inland sea oats lining a formal rill.

It’s the perfect plant for those part shade areas that get some sun throughout the day.

They bloom from late spring to fall, but often extend blooms through late winter/early spring. Bees, hummingbirds, and other pollinators tuck into the slender orange tubes.

Depending on microclimate and how established they are, Mexican honeysuckle can brown on top after extended hard freezes. Generally it is root hardy and returns in spring. Many times it remains evergreen, blooming even throughout winter. Here it’s with shrimp plant (Justicia brandegeeana), both still blooming in winter, although older foliage is compromised by winter days.

In late winter, cut back lanky growth to new leaf nodes to encourage a bushier shape and more flowers. Consider doing it in stages since bees and other pollinators welcome those winter blooms.

Mexican honeysuckle adapts to most soils to add a touch of touchable slightly-silvery foliage to pop structure and pollinator foliage to bright shade.