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Gardening in America
Trumpet Vine
by Nancy Fletcher

Trumpet Vine

Many a year went by before considering planting Trumpet Vine (bignoniaceous plant of the genus Campsis). Although this is a bright productive vine and is always a lovely site sometimes it can really be a nuisance. This perennial will grow on walls or trellis up to thirty-nine feet with a heavy woody tree like stems. Sometimes, one could believe it was the vine in Jack and the Beanstalk since the flowers produce seed pods ten to fifteen centimeters or four to six inches long. The flowers are a bright orange to red color and they are seven to ten centimeters, or two to four inches long.

The plant is native to America and grows from New Jersey to Pennsylvania, Florida and on, to Texas. It prefers moist well-drained soil. However, it will grow in the poorest of soil. It can withstand drought and if it has a heavy trellis it will withstand wind as well.

A trumpet vine is no longer recommended as a landscape plant because it is so aggressive. It has aerial roots which will cling like super glue. These roots can cause damage to brick mortar and to the roof of a house. These recommendations could be set aside in a new housing district where there are no shade trees. This plant grows rapidly and with a tall trellis it will give shade quickly. One must just consider the thought of having to get rid of it which is sometimes difficult.

Hummingbirds as well as ants love the trumpet shaped blossoms. Butterflies also are attracted to the plant.

For years we tried every plant on this one particular area of the hillside. Nothing would grow well there. Since the drive is close to this strip, water running off the hill gives no place for anything to thrive. We finally made the decision to try this trumpet vine. As you can see from the picture, it certainly is happy here. Probably, we will plant them along this fence. Eventually, the vine will fill in the fence line anyway. The drive to the side of the vine will keep it contained. Across the fence the neighbor also has his drive there.

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