En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Failure to flourish of Trumpet Creeper in Leesburg VA

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

Tuesday - June 28, 2011

From: Leesburg, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Vines
Title: Failure to flourish of Trumpet Creeper in Leesburg VA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: Late last year I planted a trumpet creeper vine to grow on my fence and attract hummingbirds. It gets full sun, is in average soil and gets adequate water. I put a few daylillies nearby. It didn't grow much nor did it bloom. I figured this was because it was late in the growing season. This year the plant started off well but growth seems to have slowed down, the ends of the vines (ie the last couple of leaves or so) are yellowing. I did apply osmocote fertilizer to the area in early spring mostly to benefit the daylillies. Can the fertilizer have a negative effect on the trumpet creeper vine? What else might be the cause of this problem? The plant does not seem as vigorous as what I have read about it. Expert advice is very much appreciated!

ANSWER:

This seems to be a bad year for Campsis radicans (Trumpet creeper), as we just answered a question on the same plant from West Virginia, right next door to you. Please read this previous answer to keep us from having to repeat ourselves.

Looking at this USDA Plant Profile Map, it's clear that Trumpet Creeper grows natively in Loudoun County, so you must have the correct soils and temperatures for it. When we eliminate other factors, and especially when there is browning of leaves, we start looking at other possibilities, such as weed killers and fertilizers. You may not have sprayed a weed killer on your plant, but someone else may have and the sprays have drifted. Another possibility is that of careless spreading of a "weed and feed" fertilizer on nearby lawn grasses. Both the weeds targeted by these products and the Trumpet Creeper are broad-leaf plants and, again, an unintended dose of broad-leaf herbicide may have been administered to your vine.

Still seeking clues, we did some research on Osmocote, a brand name for a coated pellet fertilizer. We found this website from Planter's Place.com The History of Osmocote that helped us understand it a little better. Apparently this product was first developed as a slow-release fertilizer for food crops, grains and vegetables. As time went by, it was repackaged in smaller amounts for the home gardener. Here is an excerpt from that article that we thought might be enlightening:

"Osmocote is temperature controlled. The pores in the coating (which the little balls are made of) only "open" up enough to release the fertlizer within when temperatures are above the high 60s. The "Osmo" in the name refers to osmosis--the traveling of a solution through a membrane (very rough translation) That means there can be a tendency--on warmer spring days--for the fertilizer to "dump" its load all at once, especially when (soil surface)temperatures can rise rapidly above 70.

Be careful in application, don't lay down a thick layer of the stuff hoping to fuel growth. You may wind up getting an overdose in the soil. This can happen when leaves are opening in the spring--the plant isn't using the fertilizer until leaves fully open anyway--when temperatures can spike in late afternoon."

Since Campsis radicans does not normally require fertilizer to be robust, we are wondering if perhaps you "overloved" your plant by including it with the treatment for  the daylilies which share the soil with the Trumpet Creeper. It also is known to be more invasive when it is in fertile soils; in other words, again, it may be developing too many leaves too fast. We hope you can go through all this information and, added to the fact that the plant is very young in your garden, we are hopeful that time will bring you the blooms you are looking for.

 

 

More Vines Questions

Ripe fruit of Melothria pendula (Guadaloupe cucumber)
July 22, 2014 - I see the pictures of the guadualupe cucumber plant. The fruit is still green. When it matures does it look like a small tomato? I have noticed the vine when the fruit is ripe. This is in McLennan C...
view the full question and answer

Is purple bindweed good for a screen growing on a fence?
September 12, 2012 - We cleared a bunch of dead trees and tree limbs (mostly cedars and some oaks) on our semi-rural property in Driftwood and now we're left with an undesirable view onto the neighboring property. We're...
view the full question and answer

Is Passiflora 'Purple Haze' a host to Gulf Frittilary butterflies?
September 14, 2011 - Is the passion flower purple haze (pasionaria purple haze) a host plant to gulf frittilary butterflies as is the passiflora incarnata passion flower?
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

Need care instructions for Cardiosperma halicacabum in Little Rock, AR>
May 11, 2012 - I'd like to find out how to cultivate & care for a balloon vine/heart seed vine/love in a puff vine which I found growing wild in my yard (in Little Rock, Arkansas). There seems to be very little in...
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