Floridata Plant Encyclopedia

A Floridata Plant Profile 20 Campsis radicans

Common Names: trumpet creeper, trumpet vine Family: Bignoniaceae (bignonia Family)
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trumpet creeper
The trumpet creeper likes to find a vertical support and then will quickly scramble into the heights launching short horizontal branches as it goes.


The trumpet creeper is a fast growing, high climbing deciduous woody vine that will grow to heights up to 40 ft (12.2 m). The vine's aerial roots that occur along the stems that attach tightly to surfaces. Once the vine climbs to a certain height it grows horizontal branches that reach away from the support in a quest for light and space.

Trumpet creeper produces pinnate compound leaves 4-12 in (10.2-30.5 cm) long that cover the vine in a dense cloak of bright green foliage. They are composed of 7-15 oval leaflets that have serrated edges and are 1-4 in (2.5-10.2 cm) long and 0.5-1.5 in (1.3-3.8 cm) wide.

Trumpet creeper produces pinnate compound leaves 4-12 in (10.2-30.5 cm) long that cover the vine in a dense cloak of bright green foliage. They are composed of 7-15 oval leaflets that have serrated edges and are 1-4 in (2.5-10.2 cm) long and 0.5-1.5 in (1.3-3.8 cm) wide.

Showy clusters of yellow orange to red trumpet-shaped flowers first appear in summer (earlier in frostfree climates) and are produced continuously until early autumn. The tubular flower buds are 3 - 4 in (7-10 cm) long and are followed by seed capsule 4-8 in (10-20 cm) long that often hangs on the vine through the winter.

trumpet creeper
These flowers of this trumpet creeper range in color from pure yellow to orange to nearly red like these.


Campsis radicans is native to the southeastern and Gulf Coast region of the United States where it grows along fences and at the edge of woodlands. Trumpet vine is a much admired garden plant in most temperate areas of the world.


Light: Full sun or shade with best flowering in sun. Moisture: Prefers rich moist soil but is adaptable to less than optimal situations. Hardiness: USDA Zones 6 - 10. Propagation: Seeds. Trumpet vine suckers freely from the roots, which can be easily transplanted.


This easily grown vine has been cultivated in North America since Colonial times. It is best used in woodland gardens and natural areas where it has space to grow. It will quickly cover fences and other structures and keeping it in bounds may require some effort on your part - especially in fertile soils. In frostfree areas growth is rampant and the vines should be cut back in winter to keep the vine in bounds. The vines also sucker freely from the roots and these can be managed with lawn mower and shears during the summer to prevent rampant colonization.

yellow trumpet creeper
The bright yellow flowered variety 'Flava' is a garden favorite often sold in garden centers.
trumpet creeper
On young stems the aerial roots first appear at the nodes but eventually cover the entire length creating an iron grip on the support. Jack severs the 3 thickest stems each winter to prevent the tree from becoming top heavy.

It's easy to grow trumpet creeper on arbors but remember that the aerial roots use a powerful adhesive substance to cement themselves to supports which almost certain to ruin paint surfaces. Trumpet vine is not recommended for planting near structures.

Trumpet creeper is one of the best plants for attracting hummingbirds to your yard as it produces quantities of nectar rich blossoms all summer long.


The trumpet shaped flowers are big and beautiful and will attract hordes of hummingbirds from miles around. The yellow variety 'Flava' is often offered for sale at garden centers and is especially pretty. C. grandiflora is a relative from China that was hybridized with trumpet creeper to create the very popular and very showy Campsis x tagliabuana 'Madame Galen'.

A relative of the trumpet creeper is the cross vine (Bignonia capreolata). which blooms earlier in the season and whose flowers are also highly regarded by hummingbirds.

Ants inhabit the blossoms - or perhaps they're shopping for nectar. At any rate if you cut trumpet vines for indoor arrangements go over them carefully to flush out any creature that may be lurking within the trumpet's depths.


Its common name cow-itch vine refers to the plant's ability to produce a skin irritant. Contact may result in redness, burning and itching in susceptible individuals. This plant may also become invasive when grown under optimal conditions.

Steve Christman Jack Scheper 11/25/96; updated 7/16/98, 6/24/04

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Campsis species profiled on Floridata:

Campsis radicans

( trumpet creeper, trumpet vine )

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