Creeper, Trumpet

Trumpet Creeper (Campsis radicans)
Trumpet Creeper is a shrubby perennial vine. Native to southeastern United States, it thrives in the North as well, offering splashes of bright color along roadsides, and in yards and gardens during mid summer doldrums. While some find that its leaves and flowers irritate their skin, causing a type of dermatitis, many value this vine. It is a sturdy, vigorous, long-lived plant that prospers year after year with little care.

Size: Relative to many vines, trumpet creeper is a tall vine, growing to 30 feet or more over the years. In the South it grows even taller. A rapid grower, typically it will add 8 to 10 feet each year. Simultaneously it will spread widely, from 20 to 35 feet if permitted. Trumpet creeper vines develop the aerial rootlets by which they cling to their support and their leaves near the top of the vine. As these vines age, their woody stems are bare below the foliage down to the ground. They develop orange-brown, rough bark that peels in long thin strips.

Foliage: Trumpet creeper leaves develop opposite each other along thin stems near the top of the vine. There are from 7 to 13 leaflets per stem, each having an elongated oval shape with toothed edges. They are relatively smooth on top, but often are hairy beneath, and may be either dull or glossy on the surface. The new young foliage that emerges in late May is reddish-green, even purplish, changing to medium green in summer and yellow in the fall. This vine is deciduous, and loses its leaves in mid to late October.

Flowers: Individual trumpet creeper flowers are, of course, trumpet shaped. Each is 2 to 3 inches long and is orange to scarlet in color. The flowers appear in clusters of from 2 to 9 blooms at the ends of the vine stems. Their blooming season is long, lasting from July well into September in most regions. While the trumpet flowers have no noticeable fragrance, they are very attractive to hummingbirds because of their color and shape. Over the season spent blooms give way to long, thin seed capsules. These brownish pods may be from 4 to 8 inches long. They become obvious in late August, continuing to hang on the vine over the winter until late March. They are not attractive to wildlife.

Trumpet Vine Choices
Better Varieties: `Flava' has yellow flowers.

see all questions...

Do you have a gardening question? Ask Nancy