Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

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 - 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

Duplicate request for information from Austin
August 30, 2012 - I am considering planting cross vine on a wrought iron fence. Will it cause any damage to the wrought iron or stucco posts?
view the full question and answer

Salt-tolerant plants in Central Texas
September 16, 2009 - Do you have any suggestions for salt-tolerant plants in Central Texas? Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Plant identification of vine with hard brown bulb-shaped fruit
January 19, 2011 - I was given a brown hard bulb-looking ball with rough tiny dots on it and told it comes from a vine that changes to beautiful colors and these balls hang off the vine. A lady in Houston grows them a...
view the full question and answer

Non-toxic plants for dog yard from Freeport PA
June 24, 2012 - I'm looking for wildlife-friendly native plants that aren't toxic to dogs. I have a place for some small shrubs and/or flowers. And a climbing vine that I could train on a trellis would work espec...
view the full question and answer

A Pipevine poisonous to Pipevine Swallowtails
May 30, 2008 - I have heard that a specific Pipevine is poisonous to the larva of Pipevine Swallowtails. Is this true? If so, what is the poisonous species of Pipevine, and what other types can I plant that will not...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.