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Crossvine – Care, Growing, Watering, Flowering, Propagation

An ornamental evergreen vine, the crossvine (Bignonia capreolata) has showy, two-tone flowers that attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

The crossvine climbs trees, fences and other structures via tendrils that feature adhesive pads or holdfasts.

The crossvine is happiest when it can scale structures and trees. If this is something that you have in mind, the crossvine can be a versatile addition to your garden.

The crossvine is often confused with the fire vine, because of its fiery red flowers and similarities in leaves and flower shape.

My crossvine plant care tips below will cover the ins and outs of growing this plant in your garden.

Crossvine Plant Care Tips

The information below will help you decide where and how to plant the crossvine, and what are its ongoing needs.

Plant Size

The woody vines of the Bignonia capreolata can reach 50 feet and a spread of 6 to 9 feet. Therefore, it needs more vertical space to climb on structures and walls.

Its trumpet-shaped flowers form clusters of 2 to 3. They’re about 2 inches long and 1 and ½ inches across.

Because the vines cling to surfaces via holdfasts, no extra support structure is needed.

Light Requirements

Crossvines prefer the sunny locations in your garden. They do well even in part shade, but for best performance and minimal maintenance, choose a sunny location instead.

Watering

Extra watering is not usually needed for these climbing vines that have low to medium water requirements. It has an average drought tolerance, so extra watering will rarely be needed.

If there’s a period of extended drought or lack of rain, you can water your crossvine to keep it from wilting.

On the other spectrum, this climbing vine will not tolerate extensive periods of flooding that will cause the soil to be constantly wet.

Temperature & Humidity

Bignonia capreolata is hardy in zones 6-9. It’s a cold tolerant climbing vine that adds cover and color to fences, wall-side borders, and trellises.

Soil Type

The soil for crossvines should be dry to moist, but never wet. Well-draining soil is essential. It grows the same in alkaline, acidic or neutral soil. It tolerates chalk, sand, loam, or clay soil.

Fertilizing

Fertilizing is not generally required for the crossvine, especially if the plant is grown in organically rich soil. If that’s not the case, some amendment is needed.

In poor quality soil, it’s recommended to work some aged compost into the soil. If the soil is sandy, mixing compost or peat moss will help create a more nutritious environment.

Potting & Repotting

The Bignonia capreolata appreciates the outdoors, especially because of its sun requirements. I wouldn’t recommend it as an indoor plant.

Outdoors, you can grow it in a large container and allow it to climb on nearby structures, but I’d still choose it to plant it in the ground. That’s because it’s less cold-hardy if grown in a container.

When planting it outside from a container, cut the container away to protect the rootball. When plating in the ground, only gently loosen the feeder roots around the rootball.

Make sure the top edge of the rootball sits at ground level or even above it slightly to allow a better settling or the roots.

Water deeply, then add sphagnum moss or wood chips to the soil level to preserve moisture.

Crossvine Plant Propagation

If you’re thinking of growing crossvines from a mother plant, there are two ways to approach propagation — from seeds or cuttings.

Seeds are ready to harvest in late summer or fall when they turn light brown. Crossvine seeds have a woody texture. No treatment is required before planting.

Plant seeds in a well-draining planter, add peat, perlite or coarse sand to improve drainage. Plant 1-2 inches below the surface and keep the soil moist. In about 3 weeks the seeds should germinate.

If you go with the stem cutting method, choose a 6 to 8 inch section from a growing stem. Harvest cuttings in spring.

Remove any leaves from the bottom, wound the base of the stem (2 small incisions on opposite sides should do the trick). Treat the wounded area with rooting hormone to stimulate growth.

You can use the same type of growing medium you use for germinating seeds. Plant 2-3 inches deep. Keep the growing medium moist.

Crossvine FAQs

Growing crossvines comes with minimal maintenance. If you choose a good location and provide a nutritious growing medium, you can enjoy an abundant display of flowers and foliage.

Here are some more tips and ideas on how to grow the Bignonia capreolata:

Do Crossvines Require Pruning?

Because it can achieve impressive heights, your crossvine does require pruning. However, depending on what your objective is, you can allow it to reach the top of the structure it’s climbing, and it will cascade down to the ground for thorough coverage.

It’s best to prune after blooming. Pruning will also encourage better flowering, so don’t be afraid to occasionally cut back on unruly stems.

Is Bignonia Capreolata Poisonous?

There are no reports of toxic effects of ingesting crossvine by pets or humans. That said, both people and animals can have different reactions to different plants, so best to keep an eye on children and pets.

Is Crossvine Invasive?

Unlike the trumpet vine, which is considered invasive, the crossvine is not an invasive species, so you can grow it without fearing that it will endanger native ecosystems.

When planting in your garden, make sure to leave around 10-15 feet space between them as they can spread to 9 feet.

Conclusion

Bignonia capreolata is a showstopper vine. It’s extremely generous in its flowering and produces two tone flowers that are yellow and brick red.

It’s said to provide more flowers per square inch than any other vine, so if you’re after a climbing vine that’s easy on the eyes, the crossvine certainly fits the profile.

Find a sunny location, provide good draining soil, and you’ll be able to enjoy the transformative powers of this plant that can cover up an ugly-looking fence or structure in no time.

A little pruning from time to time will stimulate blooming and keep it growing at a pace and shape you need.

Updated: August 6, 2020

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