Vining on an arbor, flouncing along a fence, or embellishing a tree trunk, the trumpet vine holds up in heat, humidity, and poor soil. It produces tubular-shaped yellow, orange, or red flowers from midsummer to fall.
In autumn, clusters of seedpods form. The trumpet vine has 7 to 11 leaflets per leaf and rootlets that attach to available supports. You'll need a strong support for this vine because it grows vigorously. It's salt tolerant and will grow in infertile soils, but prefers soil with average drainage.
Common name: Trumpet creeper vine, trumpet vine
Botanical name: Campsis radicans
Plant type: Woody, deciduous climber
Height: 30 to 40 feet high
Zones: 4 to 9
- Sun: Full sun
- Soil: Well-drained is best, but tolerates poor soils.
- Moisture: Grows best in moist soil, but will survive periods of drought.
- Mulch: Add a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch around new plants to deter weeds.
- Fertilizer: None required. In rich soil, trumpet creeper can be excessively vigorous.
- Pruning: Trumpet vine flowers on new wood. In late winter or early spring, cut back the side shoots to a few buds and thin out overcrowded shoots.
Pests and diseases
- Fungal diseases may occur but are not severe enough to treat with chemicals.
- Scale and whitefly sometimes appear but do not seriously damage the plant.
- Sow seeds in fall.
- Root leaf-bud cuttings in spring.
- ‘Apricot' (pictured here) grows 15 to 20 feet high and has 3-inch apricot blooms in summer. Grows 15 to 20 feet tall and is hardy in Zones 4 to 9.
- ‘Flava' (var. flava) has deep yellow flowers that are shorter and wider than the species. Grows 30 feet tall and is hardy in Zones 5 to 9.
- Trumpet creeper has rootlike holdfasts along the stem, but they need the extra support of a lattice or trellis.
- In rich soils and warmer climates, trumpet creeper can be very aggressive, so keep it in check with annual pruning.
All in the family
- The Bignoniaceae family has mostly tropical trees or shrubs with large, showy flowers and capsular fruit. But the catalpa tree (Catalpa bignonioides and C. speciosa) grows in Zones 5 to 9. It reaches 50 feet tall and has large 2 to 2½-inch flowers followed by 16- to 20-inch-long pods.
- The calabash tree (Crescentia cujete) is a small tree from tropical America with tufted leaves 2 to 6 inches long and irregular, bell-shaped, yellowish flowers that are 2 inches long. The fruits may grow up to 1 foot in diameter. When dry, they make excellent receptacles or hula rattles. The flowers open in the evening and are bat-pollinated where native.
Text by Mary Pestel, photo courtesy of Wayside Gardens.