En Español

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
1 rating

Monday - November 05, 2007

From: Wallingford, CT
Region: Northeast
Topic: Vines
Title: Non-blossoming trumpet vine
Answered by: Barbara Medford


About 9 years ago I started a trumpet vine, from seeds that I got from plants that were invading an empty home. I saw how invasive it was. It had worked its way into the windows and front porch and was growing inside and it was up in the gutters. Needless to say I planted it quite far from my own home. It has never blossomed and I get berries, not those long seed pods. What is the difference between berries and seed pods and how do I get it to bloom?


That is puzzling, if you observed the vine having blossoms and long seed pods, and the seeds from that vine did not produce the same results. Campsis radicans (trumpet creeper) is native to North America, and is found naturally in Connecticut. It is a legume, and therefore has the long seed pods, rather than berries. We did a search, and discovered a number of people complaining about their trumpet vine not blooming. Several suggested poor soil and no fertilizer would produce blooms, as well as cutting the plant back pretty hard after it blooms, or in the Fall. After all, a flower blooms to reproduce and survive, so if it's living in deep, fertile soil and getting everything it needs, why go to all the trouble to flower?

We're also wondering if perhaps the plant from which you took seeds is some similar vine. If there was a tangle of vines on the old house from which you harvested seeds, you could easily have taken seeds from a different plant than you intended. If that is the case, we found some possibilities, and perhaps the pictures below might help you identify what you have. Bignonia capreolata (crossvine) is a somewhat similar vine often confused with the trumpet vine, but does not naturally appear in your state, usually farther south. Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper) is another possibility, having small, inconspicuous greenish flowers in the Spring, with bluish berries. It also appears naturally in Connecticut. Finally, there is Lonicera sempervirens (trumpet honeysuckle), which appears naturally in your area, and has rather similar flowers and the fruit type is a berry.


Campsis radicans

Bignonia capreolata

Lonicera sempervirens

Parthenocissus quinquefolia



More Vines Questions

Failure to flourish of Trumpet Creeper in Leesburg VA
June 28, 2011 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: Late last year I planted a trumpet creeper vine to grow on my fence and attract hummingbirds. It gets full sun, is in average soil and gets adequate water. I put a few daylilli...
view the full question and answer

Is hummingbird vine poisonous to parrots?
June 26, 2011 - Is hummingbird vine poisonous to parrots? I am setting up vines and plants around the aviary and would like to use this vine if it's not poisonous.
view the full question and answer

Care for a Campsis radicans in Yakima, WA
October 08, 2008 - I have a Campsis radicans it is in a 7" pot and the plant is 20" tall. It was a clipping given to me by a lady that is now out of town. My question is: I live in zone 6a so do I leave it in the p...
view the full question and answer

Vines to Complement a Fence
April 10, 2012 - I have a 3' weathered picket fence that I want to plant a flowering vine on part of it. The vine must be perennial, tolerate full sun and low watering. Is there anything besides trumpet, cross vine, ...
view the full question and answer

Controlling Cocculus carolinus vines
August 04, 2015 - I live in Oklahoma City and want to rid my yard and flowerbeds of Cocculus Carolinus vines, I already have a infestation, I cant count the number of vines that were already established before I found ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center