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Mr. Smarty Plants - Non-blossoming trumpet vine

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Monday - November 05, 2007

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

QUESTION:

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?

ANSWER:

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

 

 

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