The trumpet vine is, also known as Campsis radicans, is a perennial woody vine native to North America’s eastern half. Hummingbirds and other pollinators are attracted to its reddish-orange blossoms.
Although the plant is recognized as a climber, with blooming vines reaching as high as 35 feet, its dark green foliage supplies some ground cover. Learning how to propagate Trumpet vine is a rewarding experience.
Many popular names for the trumpet vine include devil’s shoestring, trumpet creeper, foxglove vine, cow itch vine, hellvine, and hummingbird vine. The hardiness of these plants and their attractive red blossoms make them useful for landscaping and erosion prevention.
The trumpet vine is a fast-growing vine with aerial rootlets that quickly take over a garden. If not properly cultivated, new growth might swamp other species, particularly native plants. In this article, we will discuss how to propagate trumpet vine.
- 4-6 inch plastic pot
- Rooting hormone
- Paper towel
- Sharp knife
- Rubbing alcohol
- Large clear plastic bag
- Starting trumpet vines via semi-hardwood cuttings obtained between May and October, or early summer till the first autumn frost. 3-4-inch cuttings with new shoots at the tip and semi-ripe wood having brownish bark at the base are good.
- Stems with blooms or buds at the tip and those that show signs of disease or injury should be avoided.
- The best time to collect cuttings is in the morning when the plant is turgid and less prone to wilt during travel.
- Use a knife that has been cleaned with rubbing alcohol to cut the vine when you are ready to propagate Trumpet vine.
- Collect one or two stems, each with at least five nodes (where leaves attach).
- Remove the lower leaves from each stem to expose nodes, leaving only the four uppermost leaf nodes intact.
- To prevent moisture loss, remove half of the leaves from the top of the cutting and snip off any blossoms or buds.
- Use a sharp knife or razor blade cleaned with rubbing alcohol to make cuttings in the vine.
- Cut the stem at 45-degree angles about 3 inches from each side of each node.
- Each cutting should be approximately three inches long, including leaves and stems.
- Wrap the cuttings’ severed ends with a wet paper towel and place them in a shady spot to pot.
- To avoid withering, Trumpet vine cuttings must be potted as soon as possible.
- Fill a 4- to 6-inch plastic nursery pot halfway with perlite and halfway with coconut coir to make a quick-draining, moisture-retentive rooting mix.
- Although a fast dip in rooting hormone isn’t needed to begin trumpet vine cuttings, most kinds benefit from it.
- You can also use the all-purpose potting mix.
- Adjust the nutrients in the soil to be sure it contains nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, three elements necessary for plant growth.
- Rake the soil to make it fine and smooth.
- Dust the ends of the cuttings with rooting hormone powder, then insert into perlite in a 4-6 inch plastic pot.
- Dip the cuttings into a small amount of rooting hormone powder, then place perlite around the base of each stem to hold it upright.
- Mist the cuttings with water from a spray bottle and cover with a clear plastic bag sealed with an elastic band.
- Place the pot in bright, indirect light, but not direct sunlight.
- Mist the rooting medium with water every day.
- Check the soil for moisture—it should be moist but should not drip water when compressed by hand.
- If you suspect it is too wet, lift the bag and hold your hand over the top of the perlite to check for condensation.
- If there is no condensation, you can water the cuttings.
- Allow the pot to remain in place for three to four weeks, after which each cutting should have at least one green growth tip emerging from the soil.
- At this point, remove the plastic bag and pull back an inch or two of mulch, but make sure it remains around the base of the stem to support new growth.
- One month after potting, check for roots, but don’t be disheartened if it takes longer.
- Transplant the trumpet vines to level the plant’s crown with the soil around it.
- Plants should be spaced 4 to 10 feet apart.
- Cover the root zone with a 3-inch layer of mulch for the first year after planting.
- Just make sure the mulch doesn’t go too close to the stems’ base since this can cause rot.
- Once established, these hardy orange-flowering climbing plants can resist dryness, although they require 1 inch of water per week during the first year in the ground.
- Place the pot in bright light with direct sunlight for six hours each day.
- Fertilize your newly planted trumpet vines every three weeks with a liquid fertilizer, following package instructions for quantities to use.
- You can also fertilize them by adding organic materials such as cow manure and compost to the soil.
- Maintain moist soil and place a layer of mulch around the base of the plant to retain moisture and keep weeds away from new growth.
- Trumpet vines can be planted directly into the ground as soon as frosts stop in your area if you prefer not to grow them indoors for an extended period.
- Select an area in your yard with full sun exposure, preferably near a fence or wall for support.
- Plant the vines at least eight feet apart to grow unimpeded by other plants.
- When planting trumpet vines directly in the ground, start them in 4-inch pots so you can control their growth before planting them into the ground.
- When planting vines directly into the ground, allow four to six weeks for roots to establish before fertilizing or adding any organic matter to the soil.
- As trumpet vines grow, prune them annually in late winter or early spring before new growth begins.
- Remove weak shoots, dead leaves and thin-out branches to promote good air circulation around the plant.
- This will help prevent fungal diseases that can affect trumpet vines.
- Trumpet vines are moderately drought-tolerant once established but tolerate wet soils better than other types of vines. However, they should never be watered at the crown; instead, water them at their roots to drain through the soil around the plant to keep it dry.
- Harvest trumpet vines only after the flowers have opened and pollination has occurred—the petals will turn brown if you try to pick un-pollinated blossoms.
- Trumpet vines have a runner-like root system which makes transplanting them difficult once established.
- As a result, rooted cuttings should only be grown in pots for a year before being transplanted into the garden.
- Trumpet vines flourish in poor soil, where few other plants can survive.
- Choose a position that has a strong support structure and receives full or partial sun.
- Avoid soil-rich and moist regions since these generally prolific bloomers will produce fewer flowers in these conditions.
Trumpet vines are an attractive addition to the garden but protect them from pets and children once they produce toxic sap. Don’t worry if your trumpet vine isn’t blooming the first year.
Growing conditions are important for this plant to form flowers, and it may take some time before the vine is strong enough to produce flowers. Now that you know how to propagate trumpet vine, you can easily grow them in containers if you want to bring them indoors.
Trumpet vines will grow anywhere in the U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 9, where they can be grown as annuals or as perennials.
They require a minimum of four hours of daily sunlight and fertile, well-draining soil. Mature vines can reach up to 30 feet in length with an equal spread, although they will climb on structures such as fences and houses if available.