Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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

Monday - November 05, 2007

From: Wallingford, CT
Region: Northeast
Topic: Vines
Title: Non-blossoming trumpet vine
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

About 9 years ago I started a trumpet vine, from seeds that I got from plants that were invading an empty home. I saw how invasive it was. It had worked its way into the windows and front porch and was growing inside and it was up in the gutters. Needless to say I planted it quite far from my own home. It has never blossomed and I get berries, not those long seed pods. What is the difference between berries and seed pods and how do I get it to bloom?

ANSWER:

That is puzzling, if you observed the vine having blossoms and long seed pods, and the seeds from that vine did not produce the same results. Campsis radicans (trumpet creeper) is native to North America, and is found naturally in Connecticut. It is a legume, and therefore has the long seed pods, rather than berries. We did a search, and discovered a number of people complaining about their trumpet vine not blooming. Several suggested poor soil and no fertilizer would produce blooms, as well as cutting the plant back pretty hard after it blooms, or in the Fall. After all, a flower blooms to reproduce and survive, so if it's living in deep, fertile soil and getting everything it needs, why go to all the trouble to flower?

We're also wondering if perhaps the plant from which you took seeds is some similar vine. If there was a tangle of vines on the old house from which you harvested seeds, you could easily have taken seeds from a different plant than you intended. If that is the case, we found some possibilities, and perhaps the pictures below might help you identify what you have. Bignonia capreolata (crossvine) is a somewhat similar vine often confused with the trumpet vine, but does not naturally appear in your state, usually farther south. Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper) is another possibility, having small, inconspicuous greenish flowers in the Spring, with bluish berries. It also appears naturally in Connecticut. Finally, there is Lonicera sempervirens (trumpet honeysuckle), which appears naturally in your area, and has rather similar flowers and the fruit type is a berry.

 


Campsis radicans

Bignonia capreolata

Lonicera sempervirens

Parthenocissus quinquefolia

 

 

More Vines Questions

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

Identification of bush/vine with purple berries
August 09, 2014 - I was clearing fence line and came across this plant it looks like a Bush but underneath grows like a vine it has long broad leaves that reminded me of Polk salad but it grows berry clusters the berri...
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

Waiting for a Passiflora to Emerge
May 06, 2014 - My passiflora vine in Virginia seems to have died in our severe winter. Should I continue to wait for new growth or dig it up now and start again?
view the full question and answer

Identification of large egg-like objects on vines in Texas
April 17, 2010 - This past weekend we were at our deer lease in Hext,TX. My children and I went exploring along the banks of the San Saba river and found what we originally thought were some type of turtle or turkey e...
view the full question and answer

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