The Q&A Archives: Trumpet Creeper Not Flowering

Question: My landscaper planted a Monrovia Trumpet Creeper that has lush green every year but has never flowered. He cannot tell me why this happens. Can you tell me what is wrong? I am not too impressed with him or the work he did. The plant was planted the fall of 2001. Don't know if this makes any difference but it was planted at the base of my outdoor lamp post which is aluminum. Thank you.
Dennis Travers

Answer: Clamboring up an aluminum lamp post shouldn't keep your trumpet creeper from flowering, but the heat it generates in the hot afternoon sunshine might burn some of the tender stems. Trumpet creepers flower on new wood so you'll want to prune yours back each winter or early spring to encourage lots of healthy new growth. It's also important to withhold fertilizer - too much nitrogen will result in lush, green growth at the expense of flowers.

Vines in their first or second year tend to sprout and elongate stems more than produce leaves and flowers. Pinching back shoot ends helps balance their growth. Also, woody vines tend to flower more generously on shoots that are horizontal rather than vertical, so keep that in mind as you direct and shape your climber. Twining vines especially grow from upper buds and tend to lose their lower leaves. They may need severe heading back to promote foliage near the ground. I would cut the entire plant back to about 12" above the ground in late winter or early spring (before or just as new growth is starting) to encourage lots of new (and hopefully flowering) shoots.

Best wishes with your landscape!

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