Trumpet vine in container

Trumpet Vine

Trumpet Vine – Campsis Radicans

Trumpet Vine can be alluded to as the hummingbird vine. The Plant can be known for its blossoms that are long and trumpet molded and can be the length of four inches. The blooms can be shaded anything from red to white, even yellow. These blossoms show up amid the late spring months and turn into a noteworthy nourishment hotspot for hummingbirds.

The plant can climb any vertical thing that it can hook into. It can be invasive, and requires ruthless pruning! The roots are shallow, making it simple to transplant. This lovely and mystical vine usually blooms during the early spring on into the late summer months. It is beautiful and adds an abundance of color and life to all gardens and natural areas.

The Trumpet Vine is a type of flowering plant that gets its name from the trumpet-shaped flowers it produces.

Trumpet vines are magnificent as they grow and look great when added to arbors and trellises for gardens and even sidewalk entrances. They are great to bring in bees and butterflies also to all locations where they grow. When they are in bloom, they provide a beautiful look and adds lots of curb appeal as they grow and mature.

They are very simple to grow and works excellent also when planted around old buildings and other structures to add color and life to them. The flowers can range in color from red to orange to yellow, and bloom in summer and fall. The leaves start out with an emerald green color before maturing into a dark green. The trumpet vine is a fast-growing plant that can thrive in most soils. It can grow in both sunny spots and partially shaded areas. Fences and large poles are also useful for the trumpet vine as they can provide support for the plant’s tendrils.

Trumpet Creeper loves to be located in well-drained soils and can also survive moist and dry soil conditions.

The Trumpet Vine is a vibrant perennial vine plant that has fast pace growth allowing you to enjoy its seasonal flowers quickly. This species is native to Eastern North America. The Trumpet Vine is a beneficial plant and has many uses. The flowers that bloom from the vine are various shades of orange and pink. Their distinct color makes them attractive to wildlife, including hummingbirds.

This species typically blooms throughout the Summer and into the early Fall. Keeping this plant in a shaded area allows for a better and more colorful seasonal bloom. With that said, this plant also survives well in fully sunlit areas. When growing this species, it is vital to ensure that you have a sturdy support structure for the vine. Each vine produces an array of flowers that bud for several months of the year.

Once the Trumpet Vine planted, there is almost no maintenance on your part. This vine species is resilient and can grow in stark conditions. They grow best in moist soil but will continue to grow in a drought as well. It can be treated like a shrub.

Trumpet Vines are visually appealing and easy to maintain once planted in your garden setting. These also support other wildlife like bees and hummingbirds.

Trumpet Vine Plant

More commonly referred to as the Trumpet Creeper, or Trumpet Vine Plant, the Campsis radicans is a fast-growing, deciduous vine. It is found growing throughout the Ozarks of Missouri and in other areas of both the Southern and Northern United States. The Trumpet Vine grows best in USDA Growing Zones 4 – 9 and will grow more than 35 feet high under optimal conditions. Spreads of the vine range between 4 feet to 10 feet wide, with the Trumpet Vine reaching bloom from late June to mid-July.

Blooms of the Trumpet Vine are reddish-orange in appearance and highlight the multiple stems of the plant. The vine grows readily in several soil types and does not require a high nutrient-density to produce rapid proliferation. Frequently, the Trumpet Vine pruned during the early Spring months of March and April, as pruning the plant does not affect the growth of its flowers.

For optimal growth, areas with either direct sunlight exposure and moderate amounts of shading work best. The Trumpet Vine produces foliage that prefers shade, while the flowers prefer direct sun. The vine’s self-seeding nature and multiple stems dictate that this plant grew on a stable, solid body so that it will be able to accommodate increasing amounts of weight.

Common areas for growing the Trumpet Vine include walls, fences, and other border structures.

Trumpet Vines In Pots: Learn About Growing Vines In Containers

Trumpet vine, also known as trumpet creeper and trumpet flower, is a huge, prolific vine that produces deep, trumpet shaped flowers in shades of yellow to red that are extremely attractive to hummingbirds. It’s a big and fast grower, and considered an invasive weed in many places, so growing it in a pot is a good way to keep it somewhat in check. Keep reading to learn how to grow trumpet vine in a container.

Growing Vines in Containers

Trumpet vines in containers will not cascade delicately around the edge of a pot. They grow to 25 to 40 feet long (7.5-12 m) and span 5 to 10 feet (1.5-3 m) wide. Choose a container that holds at least 15 gallons – halved barrels are good choice.

Trumpet vines are hardy from USDA zone 4-9, so there’s a good chance you can leave yours outside year round. This is ideal, as the vines climb through twining and suckering, and moving them indoors once they’re established may be impossible. That being said, make sure your container grown trumpet vine plants have something sturdy and expansive to climb, like a large wooden or metal trellis.

Care for Trumpet Vines in Containers

Trumpet vines are usually propagated by cuttings, and container grown trumpet vine plants are no exception. The plants can also be grown from seed, but seedlings usually take several years’ worth of growth to produce flowers in any real quantity. It roots very easily from cuttings, however, which is one of the reasons the species is so invasive.

Plant your cutting in well-draining soil and water thoroughly but slowly. You want to wet the entire container’s worth of soil without pooling or eroding, so apply water with a hose spray attachment until it runs freely out of the drainage holes. Water whenever the topsoil gets dry.

Trumpet vines in containers need time to establish good root systems – prune back early foliage frequently to encourage more root growth and to discourage tangling of the vine. And keep an eye on it – even trumpet vines in pots can put down roots elsewhere and spread beyond your control.

Trumpet vine (Campsis radicans) is a true North American plant. Native to the Southeast, it grows in most areas of the continent and is able to take the cold and the heat in stride. But it’s northern gardeners like me that appreciate it most: Few hardy vines can offer an equal amount of color and vigor. Many garden plants are described as blooming all summer long, but trumpet vine is one of the few to actually live up to this description. Its only requirements are a sunny exposure and a good pruning in winter.

I became acquainted with trumpet vine when I first bought a house and got serious about gardening. It was August when I moved in, and the garage wall was covered with hundreds of large trumpet-shaped orange blooms that attracted hummingbirds. It took me some time to find out what the spectacular plant was. Trumpet vine is very woody and at first I was under the impression it was a tree that had grown right against the wall. A closer inspection revealed adhesive suckers and eventually I found it identified among climbing plants.

The next spring, I was worried when the plant didn’t show any sign of life. I had been looking forward to a repeat of the “wall of blooms” from the previous summer, but the plant looked just about dead. Then, late in spring, it started showing a few green sprouts. I then realized that trumpet vine, even if it could easily put up with my USDA Zone 5 Canadian winter, likes heat and would wait for it before coming out of its long winter sleep. Nonetheless, it will survive areas as cold as zone 4, although in this zone it may suffer winter damage. While it is very adaptable, it has not become a problem plant and it does not tend to invade areas where it is not native.

Types of Trumpet Vines

Our North American native species, Campsis radicans, produces large, 3-inch-long, trumpet-shaped orange flowers at the tip of each year’s new growth. ‘Flava’ and ‘Aurea’ are yellow varieties of the same plant. In my experience, neither is as hardy as the species. Each leaf is divided into as many as 11 leaflets, each 2 to 3 inches long.

Campsis grandiflora (aka Bignonia chinensis) is a Sino-Japanese species, which can be grown in mild climates. It won’t survive long periods of frost. This trumpet vine is very similar to C. radicans but blooms in late summer and fall. The variety ‘Thumbergii’ has shorter but wider flowers. This plant is hardy to zones 7 through 9.

The two species, C. radicans and C. grandiflora, have been crossed to produce Campsis tagliabuana, which produces large attractive salmon-red blooms. Like its Chinese ancestor, it is more cold sensitive than the native, but by most standards is still reasonably hardy, to zone 7. It is also very tolerant of alkaline soil. Common varieties include ‘Crimson Trumpet’ and ‘Madame Galen’ (salmon-red flower).

Uses of Trumpet Vines

Trumpet vines are fast growing and are mostly used on walls where, if you let them, they will reach 40 feet. They are self clinging with aerial roots. However, much of the weight is supported by the woody trunk, which gets to be as large as the trunk of an old lilac bush. The exposed large trunk looks very good on the side of pergolas (although on a pergola the blooms are more easily admired from the outside than from the inside). They work particularly well as covering for a dead tree trunk, provided it is in the open and gets plenty of sun.

No One is Perfect

Trumpet vine has one big drawback, which is that it suckers a great deal. New shoots appear all around the plant. I believe this is the key reason the plant is more appreciated in the North, where winter helps keep the plant in check. In my zone 5 garden, it’s not a problem, perhaps partly due to my region, but also because lawns mostly surround it. The new shoots that push through the grass are mowed with the grass. However, if, like me, you have a gravel path next to the vine, some shoots will appear in the gravel in July and August and will have to be pulled out. You will also have to rake up the numerous blooms once in a while as they start fading and falling onto the ground.

Growing Tips

To give you a lot of bloom, trumpet vine needs to have a very sunny exposure. In the northern part of its range, a southeast facing wall where it gets maximum heat and sunshine is ideal. In more southern climates, it can put up with some shade. In places with less sunny summers, such as Northern Europe, trumpet vine does not bloom as reliably as it does in most of North America. It is very accommodating of soil and pH and has no serious pests. I will sometimes notice a few scales on mine, but they don’t seem to do any visible damage and the plant has been growing for over 20 years. Another requirement for good bloom is an annual pruning.


Pruning trumpet vines is very straightforward and simple to do. Usually the plant is grown on a wall. You have a stem and some main branches that cling to the wall. Each spring, bunches of whips (3 to 4 feet long) grow out of these branches and away from the wall toward the sun. These are covered with leaves and, at their tips, a great many orange trumpets appear in early summer. In the first month, the quantity of bloom is quite spectacular, and contrary to, for instance, most reblooming roses, it remains impressive for most of the summer.

Once all the leaves have fallen after the first frost, you are left with “sticks” growing out of the main branches, away from the wall. You simply have to cut off all of these sticks at the base and the following year new ones will appear to once again produce a magnificent display. This pruning can be done any time from after the leaves have fallen until spring. It is an ideal job for the middle of winter when there are fewer things to do in the garden.

If the plant has been neglected for a few years, prune off everything that is not growing on the wall. This will ensure good blooms the next year. To give it the shape you want, you can also remove branches growing on the wall in inappropriate places (like at the top of the wall or under the eaves troughs).

After pruning, you are left with a bundle of woody but flexible whips that are 3 to 4 feet long. These are excellent to recycle as stakes for peas or for plants with heavy blooms such as double peonies. They can also be bent and used to support short plants such as dianthus. In this case, bend the stems and insert each end into the ground, making half loops through which your plants will grow and support themselves. You can also use these loops in pots.

Alain Charest, an avid home gardener and garden photographer, lives in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.

Photography by Alain Charest

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