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

Native evergreen vine for East Texas
June 21, 2014 - Can you please recommend a native vine (western edge of East Texas in the pines) that will be evergreen and fast growing? It will get about 4 to 5 hours of sun on my moongate. Flowers a plus, but not ...
view the full question and answer

Can a mustang grape and an oak coexist in Austin
November 04, 2009 - I have a healthy mustang grape vine growing on an oak in my yard. While the vine provides plenty of good food and a pleasant environment for many birds throughout the year, I feel it is overtaking the...
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

Groundcover for Sunny Slope in CT
May 11, 2013 - I need a plant to use as groundcover and for erosion control on a sunny slope in southwestern Connecticut. Any suggestions other than juniper?
view the full question and answer

Fast growing, evergreen vine for deck
May 14, 2008 - Hi, I hope you might help me select the most appropriate flowering vine for my situation. I am looking for a fast growing, mostly evergreen, and long blooming flowering vine for a large container (pro...
view the full question and answer

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