trumpet vines

How to Identify, Grow, and Care for Trumpet Vines (Campsis radicans)

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During stressful times, people often turn to nature to find some peace and relax. Big bushy trees and colorful flowers are what catch the eye of most people. The Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans) is one of our floral head-turners because of its flower shape and color.

As a woody perennial vine, caring for this plant is trouble-free. However, if left untouched it can cause damage to existing vegetation and fixtures.

Botanical Information

Campsis radicans is commonly known as the Trumpet Vine but is also known as the Trumpet Creeper, Devil’s Shoestring, Cow Vine, Hellvine, Common Trumpet Creeper, Hummingbird vine, Cow Itch Vine, and Foxglove Vine. It belongs to the Bignoniaceae family, which is characterized as woody climbers with flamboyant flowers. 

Identifying the plant is the first step to knowing how one can take care of it. Written below are information and characteristics about Trumpet Vine

Spatial Distribution

Trumpet Vines are native to Eastern North America. They are usually seen in tropical regions but are also suitable to grow in USDA zones 4 to 9. 

Leaves

Campsis consists of pinnate leaves, wherein its leaves are usually in pairs located at the opposite sides of the stem, with serrated margins. There are 4 to 6 leaflet pairs and one leaf on the tip which can grow up to 12 inches in length. The leaves have a darker green color on the upper side and a lighter shade below. 

trumpet vine

Flowers

Its common name, Trumpet Vine, was coined due to its trumpet-shaped flowers. Orange, scarlet, red, and yellow are the usual colors of this plant. It is incompatible to self-pollinate, hence the presence of pollinators is highly beneficial. June, July, August, and September are the months it usually blooms. 

Fruit

The vine produces a green pod that is relatively flat but has a slightly round cross-section. It can grow as long as 6 inches with ridges on opposite sides of the pod. As it matures, it turns brown and dries up.

Growth and Development

Trumpet creepers can grow up to 35 feet long and 10 feet wide, thanks to their rootlike aerial stems. This modified plant part gave rise to the names devil’s shoestring and hellvine. Its flowers bloom and develop vastly but slowly decline through the weeks.

As an aggressively growing plant, care and propagation are not much of a problem. However, being left to grow without any human intervention might cause a problem to the site. 


orange trumpet vine

How to Grow and Care for Trumpet Creeper

Sunlight Requirement

Campsis loves to be under the sun as it helps in the production of its eye-catching colors. It can also be planted under partial shade but would have some difficulty in producing flowers

Water Requirement 

The Trumpet Vine flourishes in areas that are moist or dry. Enough moisture is required to optimize its growth but it is also resistant to drought. 

Soil Requirement

For the soil pH, this plant grows better in neutral to acidic soil conditions and has a high calcium carbonate tolerance. Also, soil with good porosity and drainage is recommended. Some of the soil types that are compatible with this plant are limestone-based, medium to clay loam, sandy, and sandy loam.

Temperature

To prove its versatility as a vine, Campsis is tolerant to hot and cold temperatures. 

Fertilizer Application

Campsis does not require any fertilizer as long as the soil is rich enough with the common macro and micronutrients a plant needs. 

Pruning

Since the Trumpet Vine can easily grow out of control, scheduling maintenance practices such as pruning are proven to be advantageous. Pruning is suggested to be done during fall or early spring and can be cut down with only a few buds remaining. 

Deadheading, an act of removing wilted flowers, can be done to avoid the unwanted spread of the vine. Also, it can give the plant a better aesthetic appearance as desired in most landscapes.

Pruning of Trumpet Vines is an important activity as they can grow and be harmful to other plants and fixtures. 

Propagation

Campsis also goes by the name Hummingbird vine because hummingbirds are one of its major pollinators. The flower’s elongated structure and the hummingbird’s beak make it a perfect fit. Although, honeybees and bumblebees are also up for the job. 

Seeds from the pods can be used as planting material, along with root cuttings and semi-hardwood cuttings. Applying root hormones to the cuttings can aid in root production which can hasten the growth of the plant. 

Seed Collection

Since this plant blooms vigorously, some seeds might get wasted as pods turn brown, dry up, and split open around 2 to 3 months upon flowering. Harvesting seeds from ripe pods and then air-drying them is recommended. After drying the seeds, they can be stored in an airtight container and put in a refrigerator or cold storage. 

Landscape Use

In landscape designs, vines such as Campsis are used to bridge the gap between man-made fixtures and vegetation. It gives a smooth transition throughout the landscape. It can be used in fences, trellises, walls, arbors, and privacy barriers. 

Aside from the color and texture, the Trumpet Vine adds to the landscape. It also attracts butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds which could give the space a more natural vibe. 

Potential Harm

Trumpet creeper produces a sap that is thought to be poisonous when ingested and can cause skin irritation. Despite the plant not being on the list of invasive species, it can be a serious weed problem in an area where it is not desired. With its vast growth, it will be a tough competitor for the existing vegetations for its basic cultural needs for growth.  


Commonly Known Varieties of Trumpet Vines

To spice up the landscape, one can use different varieties of Trumpet Vine. One of the common and less vigorous varieties is Campsis radicans ‘Apricot’. Its name is derived from its flowers that are apricot in color. 

Then, for those who prefer a more compact and easier to manage variety, Campsis radicans ‘Indian Summer’ is the one for them. Besides, it blooms with flowers that have a red to a yellow-orange gradient. 

Lastly, Campsis radicans ‘Flava’ is best to provide bright yellow flowers that could grow up to 3 inches in length that will surely give the landscape the feeling of grandeur when placed and grown properly. 

FAQs

Up next: How to Care for Mandevilla Vines

*image by simonapavan/depositphotos

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