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

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

Identification of a vine with purple flowers
July 06, 2011 - I'm trying to identify a vine-like plant growing in my yard to determine if it is a weed or should be kept around. It has small purple flowers with a small yellow center, looking like a mini honeysuc...
view the full question and answer

Care and fruiting time of pumpkins
October 06, 2007 - This is my first year growing pumpkin. I have a good vine with flowers now & then, but I still don't see a little pumpkin forming. What am I doing wrong?
view the full question and answer

Vine for stucco wall in St. Petersburg FL
November 21, 2009 - I would like to cover a 15' stucco wall with a fast growing, low maintenance vine. The wall faces south. I live in St. Petersburg, FL. What do you recommend? Would star jasmine or creeping fig be...
view the full question and answer

Identification of possible Hairy Cluster Vine or Clematis
May 28, 2007 - I found a small twining vine with purple to lavender, tubular flowers hanging on one side of the stem. The leaves are very narrow and alternate about 3/4"-1" long. I found them on the side of the ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on pruning Clematis
August 26, 2005 - I would like to know about pruning clematis. The one I have is getting very large. Should I cut it back, and if so, in the Spring or Fall? I live in Michigan. Thank you.
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