Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Campsis radicans

Trumpet creeper, Trumpet vine, Common trumpet creeper, Cow vine, Foxglove vine, Hellvine, Devil's shoestring

Bignoniaceae (Trumpet-Creeper Family)

Campsis radicans (Trumpet creeper)
Marcus, Joseph A.
A high-climbing, aggressively colonizing woody vine to 35 ft., climbing or scrambling over everything in its path by aerial rootlets. The pinnately compound leaves with 4 to 6 pairs of leaflets and a terminal one on an axis up to 12 inches long. Leaflets dark green on the upper surface, lighter on the lower, broadly to narrowly ovate, with coarse teeth, an elongate tip, and a rounded to wedge shaped base, the blade extending along the petiolule (leaflet stem) to its base. Flowers showy, waxy, broadly trumpet shaped, up to 3 1/2 inches long, orange to reddish orange, clustered at the ends of branches, appearing throughout the summer. Fruit a pod up to 6 inches long with 2 ridges running lengthwise, tapering more gradually to the base than to the tip, and roughly round in cross section.

Native to eastern North America as far north as Ohio and South Dakota, this vine is often cultivated for its attractive, reddish orange flowers and can escape cultivation, sometimes colonizing so densely it seems a nuisance, particularly in the southeast, where its invasive qualities have earned it the names Hellvine and Devils Shoestring. Its rapid colonization by suckers and layering makes it useful for erosion control, however, and its magnificent flowers never fail to attract Ruby-throated Hummingbirds within its range. Adapted to eastern forests, Trumpet creeper grows tall with support. It climbs by means of aerial rootlets, which, like English Ivy, can damage wood, stone, and brick. To keep it in check, plant it near concrete or an area that you can mow; mowing down the suckers will discourage them. Fairly drought tolerant within its range. Blooms most in full sun.

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Vine
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Opposite
Leaf Complexity: Pinnate
Leaf Shape: Elliptic , Lanceolate , Obovate , Ovate
Leaf Venation: Pinnate
Leaf Margin: Dentate
Leaf Apex: Acuminate , Obtuse
Leaf Base: Cordate
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Inflorescence: Panicle
Size Notes: 25-35 ft.
Leaf: Green
Autumn Foliage: yes
Flower: Flowers 3-4 inches long
Fruit: Brown 3-5 inches
Size Class: 12-36 ft. , 36-72 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Red , Orange , Yellow
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep
Bloom Notes: Usually reddish orange. Yellow cultivars have been produced.


USA: AL , AR , CO , CT , DE , FL , GA , IL , IN , IA , KS , KY , LA , MD , MA , MI , MS , MO , NE , NH , NJ , NY , NC , ND , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , UT , VA , WV , WI , DC
Canada: ON
Native Distribution: Eastern North America from Indiana, Ohio and New Jersey down to Florida and eastern Texas and north to South Dakota.
Native Habitat: In trees of moist woods or along fence rows in old fields.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Moist , Dry
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Drought Tolerance: High
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Various well-drained soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Limestone-based, Caliche type
Conditions Comments: Blooms most in full sun.


Use Ornamental: The plant is frequently cultivated because of its large clusters of attractive, bright red flowers. Several cultivars have been developed, including yellow-flowered varieties and a cross with the Asian species, Campsis grandiflora, which has broader flowers but is less hardy than our native species.
Use Wildlife: Pollinated by hummingbirds and long tongued bees.
Warning: The sap of this plant can cause skin irritation on contact.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Attracts: Hummingbirds
Larval Host: Trumpet Vine Sphinx Moth (Paratraea plebeja)
Nectar Source: yes
Deer Resistant: Moderate

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Campsis radicans is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Plebeian sphinx
(Paratrea plebeja)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA

Last Update: 2015-11-30