Campsis radicans

trumpet vine

Ugh, that ugly chain-link fence around the swimming pool, the neighbor's severe stockade perimeter, that all too new looking trellis by the patio - all are landscape problems with an easy solution called the Trumpet Vine. Campsis radicans, the Trumpet Vine or Trumpet Creeper, is a very rapidly growing vine that will quickly cover fences, walls, trellises, poles and anything or anyone that stands in one place just a little too long!

The Trumpet Vine has glossy green foliage which turns a light yellow in the fall. The lustrous green foliage is a perfect foil for the vine's large, rich orange flowers. The Trumpet Vine produces clusters of its striking, trumpet shaped blooms from summer through the autumn. Not only are the mature flowers dramatically attractive, but the unopened, rounded flower buds are also a beautiful, velvety orange. The entire flower cluster is therefore very pleasing to the eye and, as a bonus, the flowers are especially attractive to hummingbirds. The fruits of the Trumpet Vine are also of interest late in the season. The long, brown pods dangle from the vine as the foliage assumes its modest fall color, adding an extra dimension to the Trumpet Vine's autumn appeal.

The Trumpet Vine is incredibly stress tolerant and thrives in areas where other plants will not even survive. Dr. Michael Dirr has gone so far as to remark in his Manual of Woody Landscape Plants; "If you can not grow this (Trumpet Vine), give up gardening". Trumpet Vine has no major pest or disease problems and will grow in most any soil or site. Full sun is required for prolific flowering but the vine will also grow well in shade.

Because of its tolerance of harsh environments and its rapid growth rate, the Trumpet Vine can be extremely invasive. Judicious pruning every spring will control its rampant growth (if, indeed, you want to control the growth) and allow effective camoflage of many types of landscape surfaces. Few plants will cover an area as rapidly as the Trumpet Vine, a quality which can be of great advantage in a new landscape site.

Trumpet Vine is a widely available plant which is also naturalized in our area (you will see it growing along fence rows, on telephone poles and at the edges of our little woods). There are some selected cultivars of Trumpet Vine which differ from the species, mainly in terms of flower color. 'Flava', for example, has yellow flowers while 'Praecox' produces rich red blooms and 'Madam Galen' flowers in shades of brilliant orange and scarlet.

Trumpet Vine is a robust plant with wonderfully vigorous growth. Take advantage of its assertive nature to cover your landscape problems with the bright music of its orange trumpets set in emerald green foliage.