Saturday, March 26, 2011

Campsis Radicans Beauty or Beast

Last week, before winter returned, we had one of those wonderful warm weeks. I was able to get out and prune some of the vines. Trumpet Vine, Campsis radicans is one of the vines that takes early spring pruning.  It blooms on new wood, the new spring growth.  While this vine could grow and cover this 33 foot long arbor, I want it to bloom at this height.  After the flowers bloom, the plant will produce 6” long seed pods. I call them the “evil pods”.  Because once this plant seeds itself, year by year it will take weeding with a shovel.  By keeping the vine low, I can pick the seed pod when they form.  Nonetheless, I love this vine!  Downtown there is a shed where Campsis radicans has entered the building. It is a sight to see in full bloom. 
The vine is growing on this downtown building and I think a bit into the building.
This is a serious vine.  But, it can be trimmed and trained to look like a small tree. The younger canes are brittle and easy to snap off.  Keep them away from eye level. I have had a few close calls.
In my yard the Trumpet Vine draws hummingbirds as they migrate through and this little baby dove rested in the vine until it’s mother called it away.
See, he is a little guy.
Last summer, pretty, but a bit too tall.  I had to get on a step in order to pull the seed pods.
As I write this post, the weather man is forecasting snow! But spring is around the corner!


  1. Hi Gloria,

    For me this vine was a beast, lifting the gutters of our house. Obviously, it required its own structure but I did get it out of the ground eventually and said goodbye!


  2. I just finished whacking my trumpet creeper vine yesterday. It tried to eat my fence and take over part of my garden last summer. My neighbors love the flowers as much the I do, so I've trained it along a part of the fence that we both share. Because I'm in zone 7, I have to prune it very hard each year or it would take over my house and evict me!

  3. Love the vine. That last photo of the pergola is just gorgeous! Sweet bird too.

  4. At least spring is around the corner for someone. I think it's a few city blocks away for me. I managed to kill off a Campsis I planted. Can you believe it? I should be able to burn water after that....

    Christine in Alaska

  5. It's a beautiful vine, Gloria. When I was in Maine two weeks ago, the weather got warm enough and the snow melted enough for me to get out to the fence garden and prune the clematis. Tonight, 600 miles further south, I walked home from work in the snow! Enough already! Whatever happened to March going out like a lamb?? -Jean

  6. It's a lovely vine. Be careful as you climb ladders, though! I've had a few accidents where I've ripped my ACL by falling off (twice!)...once on each knee! Hopefully you don't have that kind of problem...although, I didn't know I did, either--until it was too late;-)
    Our weather was in the high 70's for 2 wks, and now it's in the 30's, 40's and 50's (at the most)...and is just dreery, rainy & cold! I cannot wait for the 'return' of what I thought was spring;-) We will certainly ALL be thrilled when we get some long stretches of warm weather so we can do what we love most: GARDEN!
    What a sweet little baby dove that is!

  7. Dear Gloria, what a beautiful vine. On the whole vines are often a challenge to maintain I find. What a cute pigeon pic. cheers, catmint

  8. Gloria - how beautiful! Do our colder climates keep it in better control? It has potential for some screening in my gardens.

  9. That vine looks beautiful but needs constant work, it will certainly become like a forest if neglected. As i read the comments, it seems many has got rid of it. Maybe it should be planted in marginal areas for the carbon equivalents which it will give our earth, it can sequester lots of carbon dioxide to give us more oxygen. I wonder if the authorities already looked on that plant.