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Campsis – Growing Guide

Growing Campsis – Trumpet Creeper / Trumpet Vine

These are vigorous woody deciduous climbers much valued in gardens because they flower from late summer and on into autumn. In hotter summers the flowers will appear by early July. There are two species; Campsis grandiflora from China and Campsis radicans from SE America.

Campsis have the great attribute of producing aerial roots and they are therefore self-clinging on a wall without requiring any specific supports. They will grow equally well up a mature or dead tree where there is enough light for them to develop fully and flower. Similarly they can be trained on a trellis or pillar or over a metal frame. Here however your plants will need to be pruned into shape at the end of each season or in the spring. Campsis can easily produce several flowering shoots of 4-6ft long each season. As you would prune a vine back into shape on its supports so you should constrain, cut back and tie in your selected campsis shoots while removing others completely.

Trumpet creepers require moderately fertile, moist but well drained soil in full sun on a warm wall. We find that, for the best results, the roots should be in the shade with the main plant exposed to the sun.

C. grandiflora has dark green pinnate leaves of up to 12in long which are composed of seven to nine ovate leaflets. The dark orange and red flowers appear on drooping terminal panicles of six to twelve and open in a funnel shape. C. radicans has pinnate leaves 1-4in long composed of seven to eleven leaflets. It also has tubular or trumpet shaped orange to red flowers. There are a number of different named forms of C. radicans which we stock that have orange, deep orange or yellow flowers and one cross between the two species, C. x tagliabuana ‘Madame Galen’, which has salmon-red flowers.

We have never seen seed set with us at Burncoose on these plants so propagation is best from semi-ripe cuttings in summer. It is also quite straightforward to capture a shoot from the base of the plant and layer it. When rooted it can be separated and moved elsewhere. We have had some success with hardwood winter cuttings where some aerial roots are present at the base of the stems.

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