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How to Care for a Trumpet Vine Plant!

Gorgeous cascade of bright orange trumpet vine flowers

Genus Campsis

It’s always so exciting to find a very exotic looking plant that is native to North America. Usually more tropical looking plants grow in the hottest and wettest parts of the world, so it’s always a real treat to bring those bursts of color to the cold parts of Canada and the United States.

The genus campsis is a family of flowering plants that is part of the bignoniaceae botanical family. More commonly known as the trumpet vine, trumpet creeper, cow itch vine, or hummingbird vine, trumpet vines as super fast growing perennials.

Gardeners love planting trumpet vine for several reasons. They’re wonderfully easy to care for, they’re perfect to plant alongside an arbor or trellis, and they attract all sorts of hummingbird species and other beneficial pollinators to the area. Read on to learn all about growing trumpet vine plants!

What do Trumpet Vine Plants Look Like?

Close up of gorgeous orange trumpet vine flowers blooming in the summer

Growth Habit

Trumpet vines are very vigorous growers. They grow amazingly quickly by shooting out numerous aerial rootlets that attach themselves to surfaces by means of tiny tendrils.

These aerial roots can grow to be over 35 feet in length in certain species. Aerial roots will bear many deciduous leaves and many flowering stems that bear trumpet shaped flowers.

Trumpet vines are a perennial plant type, meaning that they will continue to produce flower blossoms as long as their ideal growing conditions are met and maintained.

Leaves

Though they look like a tropical evergreen species, trumpet vine plants are deciduous, meaning that they produce foliage that will eventually change color and fall away as the cold weather approaches.

Leaves are opposite arranged along the stem. Each compound leaf is ovately shaped and pinnate. Leaves will first emerge a gorgeous emerald green color and develop into a darker green as the plant matures.

Flowers

The real impressive part about trumpet vine plants is their flowers. Flowers will bloom in the early summer time or late summer and sometimes last all the way into early fall or late fall.

Flowers are are borne in terminal corymbs at the end of the aerial rootlets. Very showy, trumpet shaped flowers will emerge either with a flower color either of yellow, orange, or red, and will often have a differently colored throat as accent.

Once a flower is fertilized, the trumpet vine flower will produce a large seed pod that will eventually split open once it dries out and reaches maturity. Tons of tiny seeds will then release into the surrounding area.

Trumpet vine flowers are wonderfully fragrant (thanks to that sweet smelling nectar) and thanks to those bright colors, they will attract all sorts of hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees to the area. You can very effectively turn your garden into a butterfly garden through planting trumpet vine flower.

What are some Notable Campsis Species?

Gorgeous bright yellow trumpet vine flowers growing next to dark green leaves

Trumpet Creeper (Campsis Radicans)

Better known as the common trumpet creeper, the cow vine, the foxglove vine, the hellvine, or the devil’s shoestring, campsis radicans is a gorgeous campsis species that is very popular amongst North American gardeners.

C radicans can be identified by its pinnately compound leaves and showy orange tubular flowers or red tubular flowers that bloom in the summer. These are super aggressive woody vining plants that can grow to be over 35 feet long in just a couple seasons.

‘Madame Galen’ (Campsis x Tagliabuana)

‘Madame galen’ is a very lovely hybrid campsis species that can be identified by its huge and showy trumpet shaped flowers that come in reddish orange with golden throats. They are very vigorous growers and can be found growing wild all over the southeastern United States.

Chinese Trumpet Vine (Campsis Grandiflora)

The Chinese trumpet vine is a long creeping woody vine that bears deciduous leaves and is native to all of the temperate regions around eastern Asia.

Campsis grandiflora can be identified by its large orange trumpet vine flower that bloom in the middle of summer, and especially by their dark green compound leaf shapes that are noticeable because of their serrated edges.

Where is the Trumpet Vine a Native Plant?

Simple gorgeous trumpet vine cascading over wall with orange flowers

One of the biggest favours that you can do yourself as a gardener is learning about the native growing region of the prospective plant you’d like to introduce to your garden. This knowledge will enable you to keep your plant as happy as possible outside of its natural growing range.

Trumpet vines are originally a native plant to the southeastern United States, but they have also become naturalized in southern Quebec and Ontario in Canada, as well as scattered locations in Europe, Asia, and South America as well.

When growing wild, you can find this woody vine growing in moist woodlands and along riverbanks in areas that receive a ton of natural precipitation and mild summers. It’s easiest to grow trumpet vine in areas that receive a decent amount of annual precipitation.

Trumpet vines can grow happily outdoors all year round in USDA growing zones 4 through 9. If you live outside of one of those zones, you can treat them as annuals or plant them in large containers that can be brought indoors for the cold winter months.

It is also very important to note that because of their vigorous and rapid growth, their deep roots, and their very lightweight seeds, trumpet vines can very easily become an invasive plant in areas that they are not native to.

What are the Ideal Growing Conditions for Trumpet Vines?

Beautiful pink trumpet flowers growing in cluster

The next step on your learning journey is understanding the essential elements required to keep a trumpet vine happy. Here’s a hint: there are not many. These plants just want to grow, and once they are planted, they are pretty much there to stay.

As we mentioned earlier, containing the population of a trumpet vine can sometimes be a little bit tricky and they can grow out of control. An easy way to mitigate this is by planting trumpet vines in a large container to help contain their wide spreading roots.

Additionally, make sure that you don’t plant a trumpet vine too close to your house. Both their underground and above ground roots can really wind themselves into tight spots and can potentially damage foundations or roofs. Finally, try to avoid planting this vigorous vine near trees as they can potentially strangle the trees.

Soil Type

Something great about trumpet vines is the fact that they can grow in pretty much any soil type that you throw at them (as long as that soil is well draining).

It is important to remember that the soil should not be too fertile. When it comes to vigorously growing plants like trumpet vines and others, if they grow in soil that is very nutrient rich, they can grow too quickly and too out of control.

This is not only detrimental to the health of the plant because stems can be too weak and eventually snap, it will also cause quite a mess in your garden because once they get growing, trumpet vines can be kind of difficult to control.

If you are worried about the drainage level of the soil, all you need to do is incorporate some sand into the soil mixture at the beginning of the growing season.

Water Level

Watering a trumpet vine plant is very straight forward as their are not too picky about how much water they receive. Once they are established, they are a pretty drought tolerant plant.

Natural precipitation will usually suffice for water, though they will need supplemental watering if there is an extended period of drought. Just make sure water doesn’t dry out all the way and trumpet vines will be happy.

Amazing trumpet vine plant growing over a white arbor with red flowers

Sun Exposure

Something else that gardeners love about trumpet vine plants is the fact they they aren’t picky about sun exposure, which is perfect if you happen to have a garden that doesn’t receive a ton of sunlight.

In warmer regions, trumpet vines actually prefer to live in partial shade or full shade, as this serves as repose from the heat of the summer. They are also tolerant to full sun if temperatures aren’t too high.

Temperature

Trumpet vine plants aren’t too picky when it comes to temperature, either. They are tolerant to cold winter temperatures as well as hot summer temperatures. They can exist happily in USDA growing zones 4 through 9.

Fertilizer

Remember this: trumpet vines do not need fertilizer. Providing them with fertilizer (whether store bought or by using compost) will cause their already enthusiastic growth to go out of control. This will cause harm to the plant and to the surrounding plants in your garden.

Pruning

The most important and most time consuming aspect of trumpet vine care is pruning. You can be truly ruthless with trumpet vine pruning because they grow so quickly, and this is the only way to control the spread of the plant.

If you really want to control the population of the trumpet vine, make sure to deadhead the trumpet flower heads before they go to seed. This way the seeds will not spread and the population can be better controlled.

How do you Propagate a Trumpet Vine Plant?

Amazing blooming red trumpet vine flowers in the summer

The best way to propagate a trumpet vine plant is by taking cuttings in the spring time. This is because the new growth is still quite soft and fresh. This type of new growth is easier to cut and will grow very fast as opposed to older woody growth.

You could try to propagate a trumpet vine from seed, but trumpet vine sees are known to take up to 5 years of growth before they’ll actually produce any flowers.

1. Choose a stem that has a couple of leaves on it and one that has yet to produce a flower that season. Take a cutting that is about 4 inches long.

2. You can either do this in the early spring indoors in a small pot, or wait until the late spring and take the cutting right into the garden on in a container. If you’ve decided to transplant a specimen from indoors, you’ll know it’s ready once you gently tug on the cutting and you can feel resistance.

3. Pick a spot in your garden that has been amended with sand and that receives either partial shade, full shade, or full sun.

4. Water deeply as the cuttings are first getting established. New growth should start to appear in a few short weeks.

Happy planting!

Simply incredible orange trumpet vine flowers cascading over a garden wall

FAQs

Are trumpet vine plants deer resistant?

One positive aspect about growing trumpet vine plants is the fact that they repel larger pests like deer, rabbits, and squirrels, and attract beneficial animals like hummingbird species.

How are trumpet vine plants used?

Gardeners love planting trumpet vine for several reasons. They’re wonderfully easy to care for, they’re perfect to plant alongside an arbor or trellis, and they attract all sorts of hummingbird species and other beneficial pollinators to the area.

Do trumpet vines make good companion plants?

Because of their tendency to take over any area thanks to those aerial roots covered in climbing tendrils, trumpet vines don’t make for the greatest companion plants. They have a tendency to to grow around other plants which can eventually cause strangulation.

Can trumpet vine plants survive winter temperatures?

If they are growing in USDA growing zones 4 through 9, trumpet vines can survive the winter temperatures in those areas.

Are trumpet vines an invasive species?

Because of their resilient and wides preading roots, their tolerance to harsh conditions, and lightweight seeds, trumpet vines can very easily become invasive in areas where they are not native, especially since they can be so challenging to remove if there is no one around to control their growth with heavy pruning.

Are trumpet vine plants evergreen or deciduous?

Trumpet vines bear deciduous leaves, meaning that the foliage will eventually change color and fall away once the cold weather approaches.

Can a trumpet vine plant be grown indoors?

It is not advised to grow a trumpet vine indoors because they grow very quickly and can also grow to be 35 feet long, which is too large for the majority of households.

Can a trumpet vine plant be grown in a container?

Growing trumpet vines in containers is actually a great way to control their spread. They won’t be able to spread underground and you can easier prune the stems and deadhead the flowers before they go to seed if necessary.

Are trumpet vine plants perennials?

Trumpet vines are a perennial plant type, meaning that they will continue to bear flowers year after year as long as their ideal growing conditions are met and maintained.

Is bignonia capreolata a trumpet vine?

Bignonia capreolata is also a woody vine that bears trumpet shaped flowers, but it is not a member of the campsis genus.

What USDA growing zone can trumpet vine plants grow in?

Trumpet vines can grow happily outdoors all year round in USDA growing zones 4 through 9. If you live outside of one of those zones, you can treat them as annuals or plant them in large containers that can be brought indoors for the cold winter months.

How often should a trumpet vine plant be watered?

Watering a trumpet vine plant is very straight forward as their are not too picky about how much water they receive. Once they are established, they are a pretty drought tolerant plant.

Natural precipitation will usually suffice for water, though they will need supplemental watering if there is an extended period of drought. Just make sure water doesn’t dry out all the way and trumpet vines will be happy.

What are some other common names for trumpet vine plants?

The genus campsis is a family of flowering plants that is part of the bignoniaceae botanical family. More commonly known as the trumpet vine, trumpet creeper, cow itch vine, or hummingbird vine, trumpet vines as super fast growing perennials.

Should a trumpet vine plant be pruned?

The most important and most time consuming aspect of trumpet vine care is pruning. You can be truly ruthless with trumpet vine pruning because they grow so quickly, and this is the only way to control the spread of the plant.

If you really want to control the population of the trumpet vine, make sure to deadhead the trumpet flower heads before they go to seed. This way the seeds will not spread and the population can be better controlled.

Do trumpet vine plants prefer full sun or partial shade?

Something else that gardeners love about trumpet vine plants is the fact they they aren’t picky about sun exposure, which is perfect if you happen to have a garden that doesn’t receive a ton of sunlight.

In warmer regions, trumpet vines actually prefer to live in partial shade or full shade, as this serves as repose from the heat of the summer. They are also tolerant to full sun if temperatures aren’t too high.

Where can I buy trumpet vine plant seeds?

A great place to find trumpet vine seeds is on NETPS plant finder. They may also be available at your local garden centre or nursery.

What is the ideal soil type for a trumpet vine plant?

Something great about trumpet vines is the fact that they can grow in pretty much any soil type that you throw at them (as long as that soil is well draining).

It is important to remember that the soil should not be too fertile. When it comes to vigorously growing plants like trumpet vines and others, if they grow in soil that is very nutrient rich, they can grow too quickly and too out of control.

This is not only detrimental to the health of the plant because stems can be too weak and eventually snap, it will also cause quite a mess in your garden because once they get growing, trumpet vines can be kind of difficult to control.

If you are worried about the drainage level of the soil, all you need to do is incorporate some sand into the soil mixture at the beginning of the growing season.

What is the easiest way to propagate a trumpet vine plant?

The best way to propagate a trumpet vine plant is by taking cuttings in the spring time. This is because the new growth is still quite soft and fresh. This type of new growth is easier to cut and will grow very fast as opposed to older woody growth.

You could try to propagate a trumpet vine from seed, but trumpet vine sees are known to take up to 5 years of growth before they’ll actually produce any flowers.

How long do trumpet vine plants get?

Trumpet vines are very impressive when it comes to their size. Though it will vary depending on the species and the growing range, but there are some specimens of trumpet vine that have been known to exceed 35 feet in length.

What time of year do trumpet vine flowers bloom?

The real impressive part about trumpet vine plants is their flowers. Flowers will bloom in the early summer time or late summer and sometimes last all the way into early fall or late fall.

Flowers are are borne in terminal corymbs at the end of the aerial rootlets. Very showy, trumpet shaped flowers will emerge either with a flower color either of yellow, orange, or red, and will often have a differently colored throat as accent.

Once a flower is fertilized, the trumpet vine flower will produce a large seed pod that will eventually split open once it dries out and reaches maturity. Tons of tiny seeds will then release into the surrounding area.

Trumpet vine flowers are wonderfully fragrant (thanks to that sweet smelling nectar) and thanks to those bright colors, they will attract all sorts of hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees to the area. You can very effectively turn your garden into a butterfly garden through planting trumpet vine flower.