Quick facts and growing essentials

Sunset  – September 20, 2004

• Semievergreen or deciduous
• Zones vary
• Full sun or partial shade
• Regular to moderate watering
• Climbs by: clinging with aerial rootlets

Covered with trumpet-shaped flowers from early summer through late fall, these fast-growing vines are a popular choice for the garden ― and a favorite of hummingbirds, too. Many withstand colder zones; though they die to the ground in hard freezes, they make a rapid recovery. The flowers, carried in clusters of 6 to 12, are long tubes that flare open to 5-part lobes; leaves are divided featherwise into 7 to 11 leaflets.

It’s important to keep trumpet vines well pruned as they mature. Left untended, the heavy top growth can weaken the hold of the aerial rootlets and bring the whole vine tumbling down. After a plant has established itself, cut many of the stems to the ground; cut others back by half.

Chinese trumpet vine, Chinese trumpet creeper (C. grandiflora). Zones 4-12, 14-21, 29-32. This one is slightly less hardy than common trumpet vine; its flowers are somewhat larger, with more open lobes, and their color is more scarlet than orange. The plant reaches 30 feet.

Common trumpet vine, Common trumpet creeper (C. radicans). Zones 2-21, 26-41. Native to the United States, this is the most widely sold trumpet vine, flourishing throughout most of the country. It easily reaches 30 to 50 feet (and can weigh up to 100 pounds) in the milder parts of its range. Flowers of the species are 3-inch-long orange tubes that flare open to scarlet lobes; ‘Flava’ has yellow flowers.

C. tagliabuana. Zones 3-24, 26-34. Many gardeners prefer this hybrid to common trumpet vine for its somewhat larger flowers and more modest growth: while it can reach 30 feet, pruning often easily holds it to 15 to 20 feet. Most widely sold is ‘Mme. Galen’, with salmon red blooms.