Explore Plants

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
    
 

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
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - May 18, 2010

From: Longmont, CO
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Transplants, Vines
Title: Trumpet vines on wall in Longmont CO
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I purchased three trumpet vines to plant on the NW wall of my house back in 2002. Although the leaves are a beautiful healthy dark green, none of them have ever bloomed despite regular fertilizing per directions of my local gardening store. Also, the tentacles reach beyond the wire trellis that I had installed and attach to the stucco walls of my house. I would like to know two things: Do these tentacles damage my stucco? If I move these vines to a sunnier area of my house, is there another kind of flowering vine that I could plant in their place that would have a greater chance of blooming in that spot than these trumpet vines and will attach themselves to the wire trellis? Thanks for your help.

ANSWER:

We are assuming you refer to Campsis radicans (trumpet creeper), a high-climbing, aggressively colonizing woody vine to 35 ft., climbing or scrambling over everything in its path by aerial rootlets. From our webpage on this plant in our Native Plant Database:

"Trumpet creeper grows tall with support. It climbs by means of aerial rootlets, which, like English Ivy, can damage wood, stone, and brick." 

We would say that the stucco walls of your house could very definitely be damaged by this vine. Also, even if you transplant these vines to somewhere else, there will still be suckers in the original location propagating themselves like mad, going right back up to eat the stucco. According to this Floridata website Campsis radicans, it is hardy from USDA Hardiness Zones 6 to 10, but Longmont appears to be in Zones 4a to 5a, which might keep the vines from being so aggressive, and also explain the failure to flower. As to the fertilization, if you are using a high nitrogen fertilizer, such as in lawn fertilizer, that encourages the green leaves and there is little energy or interest in the plant for blooming. Of course, it is deciduous which, as you already know, leads to pathetic bare vines going up your wall for a good part of the year. This plant requires full sun, which we consider to be 6 or more hours of sun daily; that could also be impeding the flowers.

We checked on another vine, Bignonia capreolata (crossvine), which is related to the trumpet creeper, evergreen and not as aggressive. It requires sun or part shade, and blooms early in the Spring. However, it is not native to Colorado at all, with East Texas being the nearest area to which it is native.  It grows mostly in the southeastern United States and, like the trumpet creeper, is only hardy to Zone 6. 

With 18 species of Lonicera (honeysuckle) native to North America, we found 1 that is native to Colorado, Lonicera involucrata (twinberry honeysuckle). It shows up on this USDA Plant Profile as being native to the Longmont area. It is more like a bush than a vine, and is only hardy to Zone 6. It can grow in sun, part shade or shade (less than 2 hours of sun a day), is deciduous and attracts hummingbirds.

As you can see, there is no ideal native vine for your location. You could, if you wished, try to get more sun on the existing trumpet creeper, stop giving it fertilizer and see if it will not only survive, but perhaps bloom. You could try crossvine, a more desirable vine or the twinberry honeysuckle to see if either will survive and bloom in the same spot. We can't make that decision for you, obviously, nor even predict with any accuracy which one would be best.

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:

 

 

 

 

 

More Vines Questions

Report on object glowing in tree in New Hampshire
August 04, 2013 - Hello again Mr Smartpants. I commented about a purple glow coming from a tree in previous comments. Since then they have multiplied and are spreading to different trees. We believe we may have it narr...
view the full question and answer

Trumpet Vine Dropping Buds
July 25, 2013 - My trumpet vine is dropping its buds before flowering. This happened last year as well. Do you know what is causing this and what I can do to prevent it?
view the full question and answer

Vine to cover fence from Haverhill MA
April 17, 2014 - Hello, I'm looking for a fast growing vine to cover a chain link fence. The area is sunny half of the day. I have 2 small children so I don't want something that attracts bees or could be dangerous ...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen vine for San Diego, California
July 11, 2010 - I am looking for an evergreen (San Diego) vine to grow on a newly constructed trellis. Its 12' tall by 8' wide and is on the North side of the house. That area seems to only get sun June and July ...
view the full question and answer

Native vine for privacy fence in Tennessee
September 29, 2008 - I am looking for a vine for privacy that grows in width not up; thru a standard 4' chain link fence. Colorfull. Can you help?
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.