The Q&A Archives: Trumpet Creeper

Question: Our Trumpet Creeper, planted Spring 2004, has not bloomed, although growth is lush and healthy. We fertilized well on planting, last fall and this spring. We water frequently and this has been a warmer than usual spring & summer. Any suggestions to help this plant bloom?

Answer: Trumpet creeper or Campsis radicans can take a year or two to settle in and become established and bloom like it should, but I would expect you to see a few flowers this year. It needs full sun and is happy in average soil.

It will bloom best in full sun all day long. In less sun it will bloom less. It blooms on new growth of the year, so any pruning should be done in late winter to early spring before it starts to grow for the season. That is the time to trim off any winter damaged stems and shorten it as needed. You can cut it back very short to stimulate branching and help keep the size in bounds. If you prune it later during the summer months you will be removing blooming wood.

Based on your description, I suspect you may have overfertilized it with nitrogen -- this will cause excessive vine and foliage growth at the expense of flowers. A one time spring application of a general purpose fertilizer such as a granular or slow release 10-10-10 per the label instructions should be sufficient, along with or instead of that you could use a top dressing of good quality compost. Keep it mulched with several inches of organic mulch, this will also feed the soil as it breaks down slowly over time. As the plant becomes established and shows its truly rampant growth ability, you may even want to fertilize less. And if it is planted next to a lawn that is fertilized, so its roots are beneath the lawn, you may not need to fertilize it at all.

Good luck with your trumpet vine!

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