Trumpet Vine – Care, Growing, Watering, Flowering, Propagation

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With an aggressive growth that can easily spiral out of control, the trumpet vine is often kept as cover for fences, walls and other structures.

But the trumpet vine (Campsis radicans) is far from being a nuisance in the right hands, especially because of its beautiful flowers that attract hummingbirds.

Whether you want to use the Campsis radicans as a cover plant for walls or fences or as an ornamental plant, I encourage you to read the Trumpet vine care tips below.

Trumpet Vine Plant Care Tips

The trumpet vine is an adaptable and resilient plant that grows quickly and aggressively.

In the inexperienced hands, the trumpet vine can grow out of control and even cause some damage along the way.

In the tips below, you can read about the requirements of the Campsis radicans, but also my recommendations on how to best grow this plant to keep it under check.

Plant Size

The trumpet vine is characterized by vigorous and aggressive growth, so much so that it can even cause damage in certain structures.

In just a single season, the trumpet vine can reach 30-40 feet.

The vines are strong enough to damage foundations and grow under shingles. Therefore, keep it away from structures that you don’t want damaged.

A large fence, trellis or pole are good alternatives. Growing them around trees and other plants is also a bad idea since the trumpet vine can literally strangle these.

Light Requirements

The trumpet vine enjoys full sun, which will provide the best flowering.

Partial shade is also well tolerated, so don’t worry if you can’t find a bright, sunny location for your trumpet vine.

Watering

Usually, the trumpet vine does not require extra watering. Normal rainfall will be enough, unless there are extended periods of extreme drought and obvious signs of withering.

Temperature & Humidity

The trumpet vine does best in heat zones 3-9. They tolerate hot and dry conditions but do much better in hot and humid conditions.

Dry conditions make the plant much easier to control, so dry periods can work in your favor.

Soil Type

The trumpet vine isn’t particular about its soil. Depending on the level of growth you want to achieve, you can plant it into well draining soil, which the trumpet vine prefers most.

Fertilizing

Because of its quick and aggressive growth, often even in less than ideal conditions, the trumpet vine does not require any fertilizing whatsoever.

In fact, you’d be doing yourself a great disservice by fertilizing the plant, which will only encourage growth even further.

Potting & Repotting

Being a plant that can achieve tremendous growth in a short time, the trumpet vine is not exactly suitable for cultivation in a pot, although it’s not unheard of to grow this plant indoors.

But planting the trumpet vine in a pot makes more sense for propagation purposes, whether propagating from seeds or cuttings.

When the plantlets have already established roots, they can be transferred outside.

The problem with indoor growing is that these plants spread and grow quickly, making it difficult for you to keep up with its pruning.

Trumpet Vine Plant Propagation

Trumpet vines easily propagate, often even without any input on your part.

It helps that there are many ways it can be propagated including from seeds, cuttings, division of roots, suckers or layering.

When the seed pods on your trumpet vine turn brown and split open, you can harvest the seeds and sow them in spring.

You can plant the seeds in pots or directly in the garden.

Propagating from cuttings is just as easy, simply take a cutting, remove the leaves on the lower half, dab in some rooting hormone, then stick it in a pot. This is best performed in summer.

The cuttings need moist soil and shade, and it takes about a month for the cuttings to root.

In late winter or early spring, you can dig up suckers or shoots and plant them in containers or other parts of the garden.

Choose suckers which already have roots around 3-4 inches. Plant them in moist soil and you should see new growths appear within a month.

Trumpet Vine FAQs

The trumpet vine is an easy care plant with a good pest resistance, but there are other things you should know before planting it in your garden.

Is the trumpet vine toxic to pets?

Yes, the trumpet vine is toxic to pets and humans. Avoid keeping this plant around pets or children and wear protective gloves when handling or pruning the plant as it can cause skin irritation.

How to prune the trumpet vine?

You can prune back the trumpet vine aggressively and it will grow back without problems.

The best way to keep its growth under check is to cut back the plant almost to the ground level. To this in early spring before new growths start to emerge.

As I mentioned, the trumpet vine is toxic and causes even severe skin reactions, so wear protective gloves and long sleeves when pruning or handling the plant.

How to stop the trumpet vine from taking over your garden?

As a plant resistant to diseases and pests, the trumpet vine can become invasive in your garden, so much so that you’ll need to think about ways to eliminate much of the plant.

Options such as digging out the roots, killing it with hot water or applying salt to the soil, then adding hot water to the root can all help eliminate the trumpet vine if it becomes too much to handle.

Conclusion

The trumpet vine is a cold-, pest-, and disease-resistant plant that can be useful in covering up otherwise unappealing walls, fences and other structures.

It’s also a good plant for hummingbirds but also for bees and other pollinators. The trumpet-shaped orange, red or yellow flowers attract pollinators.

Still, you need to be very careful about keeping this plant under check.

Because of its aggressive growth, resilience and adaptability to a range of conditions, it can quickly overtake your garden.

Updated: July 22, 2020

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