Virtues: Trumpet creeper is a vigorous vine native to much of the eastern United States. It blooms in summer with profuse scarlet-colored tubular flowers that attract hummingbirds and pollinating insects.
Common name: Trumpet creeper, trumpet vine
Botanical name: Campsis radicans
Exposure: Full sun to part shade.
Flowers: Clusters of bright red to orange, tubular flowers appear in midsummer. They are followed by beanpod-like fruits.
Foliage: Deciduous. The large compound leaves are made up of 7 to 11 dark green, narrow leaflets. Fall foliage is yellow.
Habit: A woody deciduous vine that reaches 30 to 40 feet and climbs by aerial rootlets and spreads by suckers to form a thicket. Named varieties are smaller and less apt to spread.
Origin: Campsis radicans naturally grows in moist woods, where it climbs trees, and at the edges of fields, where it might climb old fence rows or hedges. It is native to Eastern North America from the Upper Plains, Midwest and northern Mid-Atlantic south to Florida and eastern Texas. It has naturalized in the Northeast US and Ontario.
How to grow it: Full sun will result in the heaviest bloom. Soil can be moderate or low fertility. Provide a sturdy support for this heavy and vigorous vine, which climbs by aerial rootlets. It can also spread by suckering, making it a choice for planting on a slope for erosion control. Site this vine where it has plenty of room to itself, or keep it in bounds by planting it where it borders concrete or a lawn that is frequently mowed. It can be cut back in early spring without diminishing the summer flowering; in fact cutting it back can result in a more compact habit and heavier bloom. There are named cultivars on the market that do not grow as vigorously as the straight species and can be a lower maintenance, smaller choice for the garden. Drought tolerant. USDA Zones 4–9.
Image credit: Kelly Colgan Azar, CC BY-ND 2.0 via Flickr.com