En EspaŅol

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?

Share

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Monday - February 08, 2010

From: Lowell, MA
Region: Northeast
Topic: Vines
Title: Why won't my Campsis cultivar flower in Lowell MA
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I bought a Campsis trumpet vine cultivar in 2006 and planted near my fence in my yard hoping to cover the fence with the vine. Well 4 seasons later the vine has grown about 5 ft. in area but has yet to produce one flower. It does fill in beautifully with green delicate leaves but it never flowers. What could cause it to not flower. It is in partial shade which the tag says plant in sun to part shade. Ive done everything I can think of.

ANSWER:

There are numerous cultivars of the Trumpet vine which are derived from the native species Campsis radicans (trumpet creeper). The main reason for planting Trumpet vine is for the showy, trumpet-shaped flowers, so when the plant doesn't produce, it can be disappointing.

Its hard to know why plants won't flower, but let's look at three possibilities. From the Floridata write up of Trumpet vine, there are two pieces of information that may be pertinent. The first is that the plant can grow in shade and full sun, but flowers best in full sun. Secondly, the plant is native to the southeastern and Gulf  regions of the U.S., but can survive in USDA Hardiness zones 6-9. Lowell appears to be in zone 4, so the plant may not be happy enough to flower in its current location.

Another factor that affects flowering in plants is the amount of fertilizer that they receive, particularly the balance between nitrogen and phosphorus. When the nitrogen:phosphorous ratio is too high (more nitrogen than phosphorous) many plants won't flower. If your plant is in a location where it receives regular lawn fertilizer which is higher in nitrogen than phosphorous, this may be a part of the problem. This article from Gardening-Advisor has some good advice about fertilizers and fertilizing.

For help closer to home, you might contact the folks at the UMass Extension Office in Waltham, MA.

I'm including the Davesgarden website to make you aware of problems other people have with Trumpet vine besides lack of flowering (scroll down to the"gardeners' notes").


Campsis radicans

 

 

 

More Vines Questions

Vine to cover concrete retaining wall in Georgetown TX
March 02, 2013 - I have an unsightly concrete retaining wall and culvert covers that require fast coverage from a vine of some sort. The plant must be deer resistant and drought tolerant. The retaining wall and culv...
view the full question and answer

Native, non-invasive vines for wall cover in California
June 14, 2007 - I live on the Central Coast in California. I have a stucco garage wall, which receives full sun, and faces West. I would like to plant a climbing vine to cover the wall, and was considering a clim...
view the full question and answer

Vine for yard with morning sun in California
May 24, 2014 - Hi, What is a good perennial vine to grow on the front of our house? We would like a fragrant flower too. It will be on a wood support beam, helping cover some pipes we have there. It will be an e...
view the full question and answer

Vine for limited space, part-shade fence in N. Texas
June 14, 2009 - I have a narrow strip of yard (about 3ft) between my covered patio and privacy fence. Since the fence itself lacks visual interest, I'd like to find a vine to grow on the fence to give the backgroun...
view the full question and answer

Identification of a vine with 3 leaves and a red trunk
January 02, 2014 - What is a vine with 3 leaves that has a red trunk?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center