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

Identification of vine in Louisiana
July 06, 2011 - I have two vines in my backyard. I've looked at pictures of each and they both keep coming up "virginia creeper." However, both are different. Neither causes an allergic reaction. One has leaflets ...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification of large hairy vine in Salem, OH
June 19, 2009 - We have large hairy vines that grow up the side of several of the trees on the edge of the woods beside our home. The leaves color resembles that of the poisonous sumac but the leaves shape do not. ...
view the full question and answer

Vine for a fence in San Saba County, Texas
October 22, 2012 - I want to plant vines on a deer proof fence close to my house for privacy. Are there any vines that stay green year round? Also what breed of vine would you recommend for several hundred feet of fenc...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen vine or plant that is non-toxic for horses in Pennsylvania
June 12, 2009 - I am looking for an evergreen vine or plant that can grow in shade and is not toxic to horses. I live 30 miles west of Philadephia. Can you help me? I would like to camouflage a wire horse fence. It ...
view the full question and answer

Vine for planters in Houston, Texas
October 31, 2008 - i'm looking for a native climber/vine that would be suitable for a south facing facade that doesn't have a deep root system..to create a sort of green screen using planters sitting on the second lev...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center