How to Plant, Grow and Care For Trumpet Vine

You have probably seen trumpet vines. They are big and bold with large, showy, deep-orange trumpet-shaped flowers. Are you interested in growing a trumpet vine in your home garden? In this article, gardening enthusiast Liessa Bowen will discuss the proper care and maintenance of these hefty vines.

An abundant display of orange trumpet vine flowers creates a captivating scene, drawing the eye with their brilliant hues and delicate trumpet-like shapes. The surrounding leaves gracefully frame the profusion of blooms, adding a lush green backdrop.


The trumpet vine (Campsis radicans) is a member of the begonia (Bignoniaceae) family. It is native to the southeastern United States but has naturalized throughout a much wider region, expanding its range further north and west. It can be found in woodlands and forest edges and is commonly seen climbing trees, fences, and utility poles.

Trumpet vine grows fast and large. Single vines can reach 40 feet tall and several inches in diameter. The leaves are compound and somewhat fern-like in appearance. The large, very showy flowers bloom in the summer. Flowers are about 4 inches long, dark orange, and trumpet-like. The flowers grow in loose clusters and attract hummingbirds, bees, and other pollinators

When growing this species, be prepared for a vigorously growing plant. You should have no trouble convincing it to grow in your yard, but its aggressive tendencies may challenge you. This species spreads profusely from underground runners and can easily take over small patches of land with its rapid growth. 

On the other hand, it is resistant to deer and rabbits and is generally unbothered by pests and diseases, making it very easy to grow. Fortunately, there are several cultivars available that are less aggressive than the native variety. You can also grow these plants in large containers or areas where their growth will be naturally restricted. 

Let’s dig into the details of growing this unique vine. We will discuss different cultivars and how to best care for and manage trumpet vines in your home landscape.

Trumpet Vine Plant Overview

A close-up of vibrant orange trumpet flowers bloom magnificently, revealing their trumpet-shaped forms. In a gentle blur, the background showcases a lush canvas of green leaves, providing a natural contrast to the vividness of the blossoms.
Plant Type Vine
Family Bignoniaceae
Genus Campsis
Species radicans
Native Area Southeastern United States
USDA Hardiness Zone 4 to 9
Sun Exposure Full sun to partial shade
Soil Type Average, Well-drained
Water Medium
Plant Spacing 12+ inches
Suggested Uses Hummingbird Garden
Plant With Carolina Jasmine, Coral Honeysuckle
Bloom Season Summer
Flower Color Orange
Attracts Hummingbirds, Bees
Problems High maintenance, Aggressive growth
Resistant To Drought, Heat, Poor soil, Deer, Rabbits
Height 30 to 40 feet

Plant History

A vibrant cluster of red trumpet flowers showcasing their strikingly beautiful bell-shaped blooms. The vine stands out proudly from the top of a weathered stone wall, catching the eye with their vivid hue.
Native to the southeastern United States, this is a robust and sizeable vine.

Trumpet vine is a large, vigorous vine native to the southeastern United States. It has a wide tolerance for many environmental conditions and has become naturalized in the northeastern states, many western states, and parts of Canada. While not technically listed as an invasive species, this plant can grow very aggressively and quickly choke out less-vigorous native vegetation. 

Trumpet vine is found in various habitats, from urban areas to roadsides to forested edges. It loves to ramble and easily climbs large trees, reaching up into the canopy layer. The distinctive dark orange tubular flowers attract hummingbirds and bees.

For the home gardener, trumpet vine may be of interest, but because of its vigorous growth rates, it is a high-maintenance plant. Fortunately, some varieties and cultivars are less weedy and equally attractive. This would be an excellent plant for a naturalized area or to grow over a sturdy fence row.


Orange trumpet flowers showcasing their fully closed petals. The lush green vine that supports the flowers climbs gracefully from the top corner of a sturdy white brick wall.
These vines thrive best in full sunlight with moist, well-drained soil.

Trumpet vine is a big plant with big space needs. You won’t want to grow this plant in a little spot with limited expansion possibilities. The vines can grow extensively and also spread by root suckers, so the area surrounding your original planting will constantly sprout new offshoots. 

If you decide to grow this vine, be prepared for annual maintenance. To prevent spread, remove the suckers (either by mowing or by hand). You’ll also need to be sure you have a strong and sturdy support for the plant, as a tiny ornamental trellis won’t be nearly big enough. 

This plant grows well in a variety of soil types. It does prefer moist, well-drained soil with full or partial sunlight. You won’t need to do anything special to convince this plant to grow. It blooms during the summer, and the flowers attract bees and hummingbirds. 

Some sensitive people experience contact dermatitis when interacting with its leaves and flowers. Trumpet vine is also sometimes called “cow itch vine” because of the itchy rash it may cause. If you are one of these unfortunate people who react to this plant, always wear gloves and long sleeves when handling it.


This flowering vine can be propagated from cuttings and seeds. It is most conveniently grown from seed or by purchasing a young nursery-grown plant. It grows very fast, so propagation is not difficult.


A close-up of six trumpet vine seeds, with four vibrant green ones and two rich brown ones, arranged in a neat cluster. A blurred background showcases a lush expanse of greenery, providing a contextual setting for the trumpet vine seeds.
In the fall, sow seeds outdoors and let nature take care of their growth.

You can easily collect seeds if you have access to an established plant. After flowering, these vines produce large, prominent seed pods. The pods start green, then turn brown and harden, eventually splitting open to reveal a mass of seeds. If you purchase seeds from a seed company, they will be pre-cleaned and include directions on how to grow them.

Seeds grow best with some cold, moist stratification. Sow them outside in the fall, and let nature do this for you! If you start your seeds indoors, place them in moist vermiculite in the refrigerator for about 60 days, then plant them in small pots with a seed-starting mix.

Sow more than you think you will need because they probably won’t all germinate, and when they do, you can choose the healthiest seedlings to nurture to maturity. 


A healthy green plant thrives gracefully in a black pot, drawing nourishment from the nutrient-rich soil below. The plant's elongated leaves gracefully arch towards the sunlight, displaying a lustrous sheen that sparkles under gentle rays.
The ideal seasons for transplanting seedlings are spring and fall.

It is extremely easy to grow trumpet vine from store-bought, greenhouse-grown seedlings. You’re likely to find some more interesting cultivars sold as young plants.

As you look at the options available for purchase, choose a healthy-looking plant. Look for dark green leaves and a firm stem. Don’t buy any plants with any signs of mold, fungus, mushiness, or insect infestations. 

Generally, the best time for transplanting seedlings is spring or fall. Wait for a cool, overcast day. Transfer your seedlings to your desired planting site and give them a drink of water to help them adjust to their new home. 

Stem Cuttings

Close-up view of vibrant trumpet vines adorned with fresh, green leaves, exuding nature's rejuvenation and growth. A metal grid stands adjacent to the thriving trumpet vines, offering a sturdy support to the climbing plants as they stretch towards the sky.
To propagate an established vine, take a stem cutting if you can access one.

If you have access to an established vine and want to propagate it, you can take a stem cutting. This process will work best in the spring when new growth is most tender, and the vines are growing vigorously. 

Cut a 6-inch piece of fresh young vine growth using clean, sharp pruners. Strip any lower leaves, dip the stem’s lower part into water, and then dust it with a powdered rooting hormone to stimulate growth. Plant your dipped stem into a small pot with fresh potting mix.

Keep this moist until you see the plant starting to grow again, indicating that your cutting was successful. Not all cuttings will grow, so you may want to take a few to ensure you get a viable cutting.


A white-gloved hand delicately grasps a trowel, its slender fingers suggesting a gentle touch as it meets the earth's surface. The contrast between the pristine glove and the dark soil underscores the act of digging with care and precision.
Locate your new plant near a sturdy climber support, as these vines love to climb.

When you are ready to plant your trumpet creeper outside, you won’t need any fancy tools, just a small spade for digging a hole and some good gardening gloves to protect your hands. Dig a hole where you want to plant the vine. This is an excellent opportunity to make sure the soil is moist and not too dry or gravelly

Transfer your seedling or young plant from its pot into the new hole. Fill in the gaps around the hole’s edges with fresh soil and pack it down gently to secure the vine in its new location.

Since they love to climb, locate your new vine near a sturdy climber support, knowing that the vine will likely cover it in part or fully. Keep the young plant well-watered for the first few weeks until it can establish itself.

How to Grow

Most gardeners are pleasantly surprised by this plant’s abundant growth. In the right conditions, you will worry more about controlling than nurturing it.


A cluster of five pink trumpet vines stands tall against a blurred backdrop of lush foliage. Their trumpet-shaped flowers boast a soft blush hue.
Trumpet vines grown in full shade may grow large but have few flowers.

Trumpet vines love the sun, requiring at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. They will grow well in partial shade and even tolerate full shade, but they will display the best flowering with full sunlight.


A stunning close-up of vibrant red trumpet vine flowers glistening with delicate water droplets, exuding a sense of freshness and vitality. The lush green leaves forming the background create a harmonious contrast.
Moist soil is ideal for the growth of this flowering species.

Trumpet vine does best with moist soil. Once established, plants will tolerate occasional drought, and they will also tolerate occasional saturated soil conditions. You probably won’t ever have to water your vines except for a brief time following transplanting when the young plant is getting established or if you are growing in a container. 


A silver trowel lies atop a rich, fertile soil, ready to dig deep into the earth. The trowel's polished surface glimmers with a promise of durability, while its sturdy wooden handle provides a comfortable grip for the gardener's steady hand.
It may grow in poor-quality soils, though perhaps not as vigorously.

Soil can be average quality to rich. Plants will grow in poor-quality soils as well, but possibly not as well. Soil should be well-drained and hold some moisture. 

Climate and Temperature 

Vibrant trumpet vine flowers in shades of orange and yellow blossom gracefully. Their crinkled petals add a delicate touch to the overall charm. In the backdrop, a blurred scene of lush green leaves enhances the floral beauty.
These are hardy plants that tolerate heat, humidity, and cold temperatures.

Campsis radicans is generally hardy and easily grown as a perennial in USDA climate zones 4 through 9. It tolerates heat, humidity, and cold temperatures. 


A trio of fertilizers in contrasting colors, white, black, and red, lies scattered on the dark soil. As they intermingle on the soil's surface, these fertilizers form a harmonious blend, ready to be absorbed by the earth.
Trumpet vines are not too particular about the soil type and can flourish in many environments.

There should be no need to fertilize your trumpet vine. These plants are not too picky about soil conditions and will seem to thrive just about anywhere you put them. 


Trumpet vine with lush green leaves, gracefully intertwining and flourishing in nutrient-rich soil. A sturdy wooden fence stands tall behind the vibrant trumpet vine. The fence features a sturdy metal grid, showcasing a harmonious blend of natural and industrial elements.
Hand trim or mow the sucker shoots to keep your vines in check.

Trumpet vine can be considered a high-maintenance plant because you will need to do a lot of pruning to manage unwanted spreading. Sucker shoots developing from the root system can be hand trimmed or mowed to keep them in check. 

Its biggest problem is that it spreads aggressively, and you must do extra maintenance to control unwanted spreading. As you’re working, be aware of the contact dermatitis it can cause in some people. Wear gloves and long sleeves to prevent any itchiness or skin rash after handling trumpet vine.

Garden Design

Trumpet vine laden with orange blossoms gracefully arcs over the  wooden door of a white house. In the foreground, a sturdy tree trunk adds a touch of rustic charm, grounding the idyllic scene with its natural presence.
Generally, this is better suited as a stand-alone plant rather than being grown closely surrounded by other perennials.

Don’t think of trumpet vine in the same way you would a typical annual or perennial plant; think of it more as something like a “Jack and the Beanstalk” plant.

You can allow your trumpet vine to grow to its full length of 40 or so feet, or prune it to create something that looks more like a vine-like tree with a thickened trunk and a bushier top. Whichever way you choose to grow this plant, be prepared for it to get larger each year.

This is generally not a great plant to grow closely surrounded by other perennials; it’s more of a stand-alone plant. Plant it where it will have plenty of room to sprawl. It is a climber, so it will always try to climb up something: the nearest tree, a bush, an arbor, a wall, or a fence. The aerial stems will cling as they climb, allowing them to grow up vertical trunks, poles, and even walls. 

If you want to avoid smothering trees and bushes with this vine, give it a separate large, sturdy arbor to grow on. You can also grow it in a large container, which will help limit its size. One way to control the vine’s tendency to spread by sucker shoots is to plant them in a growth-limited area, such as a limited amount of growing space surrounded by an impenetrable barrier like concrete.


There are several varieties and cultivars available commercially. These have the same general care requirements but are often more manageable and less aggressive.

‘Apricot’ Trumpet Creeper, Campsis radicans ‘Apricot’

Apricot trumpet creeper flowers blossom in full glory, their delicate petals reaching out like fiery tendrils. Amidst the blossoms, verdant leaves form a lush backdrop, providing a contrasting green canvas that beautifully complements the radiant apricot hues.
The Apricot Trumpet Creeper is less invasive compared to its native counterparts.

This apricot-colored cultivar is quite attractive and slightly less invasive than the native species. ‘Apricot’ is also more compact. It may grow only about 15 feet in length

‘Indian Summer’ Trumpet Creeper, Campsis radicans ‘Indian Summer’

A pair of Indian summer trumpet creeper flowers, displaying stunning shades of yellow transitioning to orange tones. The blurred background shows the intertwined dance of tree roots and leaves.
The cultivar ‘Indian Summer’ bears dark red-orange flowers and closely resembles the native species.

‘Indian Summer’ is a trumpet vine cultivar that resembles the native species with dark red-orange flowers. It is shorter, however, growing to about 15 feet in length, and shows less tendency to spread aggressively

‘Madame Galen’ Trumpet Creeper, Campsis x tagliabuana ‘Madame Galen’

Three stunning pink Madame Galen trumpet creeper flowers glisten with water droplets. Each flower stands tall, supported by its  slender stem, while the vibrant green leaves embrace them in a loving embrace. The blurred background captures a lush greenery.
The ‘Madame Galen’ vine can reach a length of approximately 25 feet.

‘Madame Galen’ is a cultivar that looks similar to the native species, except that the flowers are a deep salmon-red color. This vine grows to about 25 feet in length.

Wildlife Value

A hummingbird delicately sucks nectar from a brilliant orange trumpet vine flower. The flower's slender stem showcases several unopened buds, hinting at more beauty yet to bloom. In the backdrop, lush green leaves create a soft blur.
This plant has advantages for the local wildlife.

Trumpet vines do offer some distinct benefits for the local wildlife. Hummingbirds, in particular, like to feed on the flower nectar. Bees and other pollinators will also visit the flowers, so this plant would be suitable for growing along the edge of a hummingbird or pollinator garden

As the vines grow larger and twine and twist, they create dense clusters of vegetation. Birds will seek these leafy tangles as shelter to roost in and as a support structure to build nests. Deer and rabbits don’t generally bother this plant. 

Pests and Diseases

A close-up reveals a tiny white bug with a distinctive black spot as it nibbles on the vibrant red petal of a trumpet vine flower. The bug's intricate features stand out against the flower's rich color, showcasing nature's intricate beauty.
Typically, this species remains largely unaffected by pests and diseases.

Trumpet vine is tolerant of somewhat wet soils and periodic drought and is not particularly prone to root rot or drying out. It also does not typically suffer from pests and diseases. You may spot an occasional Japanese beetle or cluster of aphids, although these common pests rarely harm this plant. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I prune my trumpet vine to keep it smaller?

Yes, absolutely! If you let it, a trumpet vine can climb straight up a tall tree. You can also prune these vines quite heavily and they will just keep growing back.

Prune your trumpet vine every year; this will help keep it a very manageable size, but you may still encounter sucker shoots from the root system that you’ll need to remove.

Use sturdy hand pruners for smaller vines, but you may need loppers or even a saw for very large vines. Growing your plant in a container can help control both its size and its ability to produce sucker shoots.

Why isn’t my trumpet vine blooming?

There are a couple of likely reasons your vine isn’t blooming. A young plant grown from seed may take a couple of years to reach flowering maturity. Trumpet vines grown in the shade won’t bloom as well as those growing in full sunlight.

And finally, pruning can also help improve flowering. These vines bloom on new growth. Prune them in either late fall or very early spring, before new growth begins. This will give your plants plenty of time to develop some new growth and plenty of new flowers.

What if I planted a trumpet vine and then changed my mind?

This is certainly a dilemma. Hopefully, you are 100% happy with any plant you grow intentionally in your garden. Sometimes, however, something doesn’t work out as expected. If your trumpet vine is still young, dig it out and move it to a more suitable location.

If your trumpet vine is older, or if you inherited an old one that came with your house, it can be a bit more work to remove it.

You can try digging up as much as you can, but because the root network can become quite extensive, you will probably be digging for a while to make sure you got all the larger root bits. As a last resort, use a brush-killing herbicide per its manufacturer’s directions.

Final Thoughts

The trumpet vine is a beautiful and spectacular plant. It is hardy and fast-growing and has beautiful flowers that attract bees and hummingbirds. The plant is easy to grow and thrives in many environmental conditions. However, it is high-maintenance because you will need to control its growth unless you have a large area that you want covered with trumpet vine. Be prepared to perform some regular vine-control duties and then enjoy this attractive native plant and all it has to offer!

A pair of gloved hands carefully trim a vibrant clematis plant with a sharp pruning shear, ensuring its healthy growth and shape. The foreground showcases stunning clematis flowers in full bloom. In the blurred background, tall grasses sway gracefully.


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