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How to Grow and Care for Trumpet Flowers

Campsis Radicans

Bignonia Capriolata

You're growing a fast growing, flowering vine with a trumpet shape that's attracting hummingbirds in big numbers. Everyone who see it in your yard, calls it by a different name. Most commonly the word "trumpet" is in the name. It's understandable if you are a little confused about exactly what to call it. We will help to take a little of the confusion out....just a little.

Trumpet flowers are also sometimes called "Cow Itch". As member of the nightshade family, the leaves have a toxic substance that can cause itching and a rash. 

 


There are two types of Trumpet Flower or Trumpet Flower Vines:

The first is Trumpet Creeper (Campsis Radicans). It can grow 30-40 feet in a season, with a trunk several inches across. It's three inch blooms appear in the summer, earlier in the south. Colors range from yellow and yellow orange to red. This plant is native to the U.S. Gulf Coast and southeastern U.S.

A close relative is the Cross Vine (Bignonia Capriolata). Cross Vine is also commonly called Trumpet Flower, or Trumpet Vine. Cross vines grow shorter vines. The flowers are smaller, growing two to three inches. It blooms early in the spring, and helps to attract returning hummingbirds to your yard for the season. Cross Vines are native to a large area of the U.S. from the mid atlantic states and south to Florida, and west to mid-western states.

At this point, some of you may be thinking "My Trumpet Flower is a bush or a tree." In that case, you are growing Angel Trumpet Flowers, also called Brugmansia.

Hummingbirds are attracted to the bright blooms.

 As a flowering vine, they need some type of support to climb.  In the wild, they grow up tree trunks. They will look good growing in this manner in naturalized settings. A trellis or fence works well, too. Fences are more popular, as it provides longer length to run the vines.The support should be big enough to support vine growth of up to 30-40 feet, depending upon what trumpet flower variety you are growing.

Plants can be invasive. Growing methods are the same for both types of Trumpet Flower Vines.


Plant Propagation:

Trumpet Flower Vine are grown from seeds. Sow seeds directly into your flower garden after all danger of frost has past and the soil has warmed. Plant seeds 1/4" deep.  

Vines can also be propagated by digging up and replanting suckers.


How to Grow:

Trumpet Flower Vine is easy to grow. They prefer full sun, but will tolerate partial shade. Plants like a rich soil to fuel their fast growth. Mix a healthy dose of compost into the soil prior to planting.

Plants like a lot of water and nutrients. Keep soil moist. Add general purpose fertilizer when planting, and every two to three weeks during the season. Switch to a high phosphorous formula just before the blooming period.

Trumpet Flower Vine needs some form of support to climb up. Trellises or fences work well.

Keep the areas weeded when plants are young. A layer of mulch will keep weeds down, and create a neat appearance.

Trumpet Flower Vine can be invasive. They are good "re-seeders". If the pods are allowed to open and pour out their seeds, you will find many new plants next year. Do not disturb the soil until seedlings have begun to grow. Thinning will almost certainly be needed. If you don't want them to spread too rapidly, pick seed pods as they appear.


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