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

Friday - August 25, 2006

From: Newtown, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Vines
Title: Non-blooming of Campsis radicans, Trumpet Vine
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I have a trumpet vine that does not bloom. My neighbor has the same plant and it blooms profusely. I have pruned the vine in February as was suggested on another site. It is healthy and is planted about fifty yards from my neighbor and in the same sun exposure. What can I do to get it to bloom?

ANSWER:

Trumpet vine, Campsis radicans (also known as Trumpet creeper) is a popular, though sometimes overly aggressive native vine. It typically flowers dependably, but from time to time seems to defy our best efforts to make it bloom. In fact, giving our best effort may be part of the problem.

Many vines produce flowers only when they transition from a state of vegetative growth to a "mature" state. Plants that are rapidly growing or are growing in a nutrient-rich environment simply don't make that transition. However, environmental stress often triggers the necessary physiological change and induces flowering.

An old gardening trick for such plants is to create some environmental stress that will produce the desired results. Decreasing available soil nitrogen by withholding fertilizer is often the easiest way to promote flowering, but it can take a year or more to see a change. Some gardeners root prune as a way to stress their plants into flowering. This is done by simply going around the base of the plant a couple of feet from the base of the plant and piercing the soil in a few places with a garden spade. Do not cut all of the roots this way, just make a few such cuts to sever enough of the roots to "shock" the plant out of vegetative growth and induce flowering. Withholding water is sometimes effective in areas of low rainfall or during drought.

If you try these techniques and you still get no flowering, ask your neighbor if you can get a start from her vine. Trumpet vine is easy to propagate and is fast-growing. Getting a new vine that is known to flower prolifically is sometimes a last resort.
 

More Vines Questions

Vine for lanai in St. Augustine FL
August 16, 2009 - What vine can I grow to attach to a screened in lanai around my pool? Will it damage my screen?
view the full question and answer

Containerized honeysuckle for Dassel MN
April 05, 2013 - We are renting our house but I would like to enjoy my own honeysuckle. Can they be planted in a big pot so that I can take it with me when we move.
view the full question and answer

Native vine to replace non-native Ficus pumila creeping fig
April 01, 2012 - What is a good evergreen alternative to ficus pumila to cover a rough-textured concrete wall in Houston TX?
view the full question and answer

When to Plant Texas Wisteria?
December 09, 2015 - When is the best time to plant Texas Wisteria, Fall or Spring?
view the full question and answer

Growing native vines in pots from Houston
May 28, 2012 - I am writing in regards to your often mentioned issue of plants not doing as well in pots and in the ground. After last years drought, i moved all the plants I had that were in danger of dying of t...
view the full question and answer

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