Trumpet creeper (Campsis radicans) is a large native vine with showy, trumpet-shaped flowers. One of the best vines for attracting hummingbirds to the garden, trumpet creeper grows wild throughout eastern North America, but is well-adapted for growing in almost any part of the country.
Essential Trumpet Creeper Facts
Trumpet creeper's finely divided foliage comes in clusters of shiny green leaves, but the flowers are the main attraction -- three-inch orange-red blossoms that cover the vines in summer. Trumpet creeper grows rapidly to 40 feet in height and becomes large and woody with age. It is one of the most common ornamental vines in nurseries throughout the country.
Hardy in USDA zones 4 to 10, trumpet creeper is a tough and adaptable species. It flowers best in full sun, but is not picky about soil type.
Planting the Vine
Trumpet creeper is typically grown from plants purchased in a nursery, rather than by seed. Fall or spring is the preferred season for planting, so the roots can get established while the weather is cool. If new vines pop-up from the roots of an existing plant, these can be dug out with a piece of root attached and transplanted as a way of propagating the plant.
Problems With Aggressive Growth
Trumpet creeper is rarely bothered by pests and disease, but it grows at an aggressive rate, meaning some maintenance is usually necessary. It will sprawl across the ground if it is allowed to, so it helpful to periodically clip off new stems that emerge from the base of the vine, or make sure to train them onto the trellis structure that is provided.
Vines have a tendency to pop up from the root system a good distance from the main plant, which should always be cut out along with the root they are attached to in order to keep trumpet creeper from spreading.
Trumpet creeper can be cut back severely in fall or early spring each year to limit its overall size.
Landscaping With Trumpet Creeper
Trumpet creeper is best in large scale landscaping applications, especially native plantings where it is an asset in its ability to attract hummingbirds. It needs a stout arbor or trellis though it can also be trained up large trees as it is found in nature. The vines can damage house siding, so it's best not to plant immediately adjacent to the house.
An alternative option is to plant trumpet creeper in a large pot or planter which prevents the roots from spreading out and popping up elsewhere.
A few named cultivars of trumpet creeper are available.
- 'Flava' is a yellow-flowered variety.
- 'Atropurpurea' has darker red flowers than the basic species.
- 'Speciosa' is a form with a smaller, more compact growth habit.
Trumpet creeper flowers have the ideal color and tubular shape that encourages hummingbirds to come for a drink of nectar. Bright and cheery, they light up the landscape with their summer spectacle.