Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Campsis radicans (Trumpet creeper)

Campsis radicans is a woody vine that blooms throughout the warm months of the year. The large flowers are a showy addition to any landscape. Blooms appear in clusters on the tips of new growth. The individual orange-scarlet flowers are 2.5 inches to 3 inches long, and 1.5 inches wide. These blooms attract hummingbirds, and this plant is supposed to be one of the best to plant if you want hummingbirds in your garden.
Campsis radicans is native to the southeastern United States and grows well in USDA Zones 4-9. The foliage is deciduous, but the deeply furrowed bark provides some winter interest as well. It can grow 30 to 40 feet in height, but only if it has support. The vines will only grow as large as the structure they're attached to. I have some that bloom at a height of 3-4 feet if that is the height of their support. Horizontal vines growing across the ground will bloom also.
The vine attaches to supports by means of short aerial rootlets. They emerge all along the stem, making a firm grasp onto the supporting tree or structure. Leaves are pinnately compound, and the sap of the plant causes skin irritation in some sensitive people.
The plant spreads by root suckers, but these can be controlled by digging out or mowing off. It can be kept in containers, or planted in natural mixed buffer areas where its aggressive nature is less of a problem.
In the warmest parts of its range, Trumpet creeper starts blooming in mid spring and continues until fall. Full sun is required for best flowering.
There are cultivars with red, yellow, or purplish flowers, and also hybrid varieties.

1 comment:

Roger Brook - No Dig Gardener said...

We see wonderful campsis when we visit my son in Sorrento. Unfortunately although my campsis in York is healthy and survived outside our dreadful double winter 2010, we do not get enough sunshine for it to flower. We live in hope!