Should I grow trumpet vine? Is it invasive?


Trumpet vine (Campis radicans) is a fast growing, woody vine with dramatic flowers. Hummingbirds are especially attracted to trumpet vine flowers. It is hardy in USDA zone 4-9. It will grow well in part shade but sun is necessary for good flower production.  Trumpet vine tolerates most soil conditions and does not need to be fertilized because of its vigorous growth. It can be grown against a wall  or on a trellis or pergola. Because of their strong growth characteristics trumpet vines need to be severely pruned every year. This is best done in late winter or early spring. This will not affect flower production as trumpet vines flower on new growth.

The reason not to grow this attractive plant is its invasive nature. It will spread rapidly through suckering. and can easily take over a garden. This plant is not technically invasive in New York State in the sense that it has not been officially declared prohibited by NYS (as of early 2021). It does have characteristics of invasive weeds and is described as such in authoritative texts from the Southern Weed Science Society, Weeds of the Northeast (by R. H. Uva, , J.C. Neal,and J.M. DiTomaso) and Weeds of Kentucky and adjacent states (by P. D.Haragan). It is on the USDA's List of Introduced, Invasive and Noxious Plants, which is not a good character reference.

Campsis radicans is aggressive and we would not recommend planting it now. You are not obligated to remove a plant that you have already growing (but check local and state ordinance as rules are rapidly changing in the area of invasives), but it requires a lot of work to keep it under control.  It spreads by suckering underground runners and the seeds that fall from its pods, and the runners may send shoots up in places where you won't notice them, like in the middle of shrubbery.  It freely self-seeds and can choke out many plants that get in its way; you can never let this plant get the upper hand or be allowed to spread as much as it wants to.  It should be severely pruned back in early spring or fall to just a few buds, and you should deadhead the pods before the seeds can drop.  Pull up the new shoots from the runners whenever you see them. Do not consider planting it on the border of your property where it can become an unwelcome menace for neighbors.

If you decide to grow this species, try growing it in a concrete-lined pit or in a large container.  When grown in a lawn, regular mowing will help to contain its spread. In colder areas its invasiveness is less of a problem.

Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service

  • Last Updated May 02, 2024
  • Views 4748
  • Answered By Anita Finkle

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