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Gardening Answers Knowledgebase

Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Campsis, Woody plant cuttings, Woody plant propagation

I have a trumpet vine. I needed to move it, and during the relocating, I also cut its woody upright trunk about 3 feet up, and it was about 6 feet -- the woody part. It had a lot of leaves, or branching growth. I wonder what would I have to do to start a new plant from this part I've cut off?


The best way to propagate the top part of your vine Campsis radicans) is with semi-ripe or hardwood cuttings. North Carolina State University Extension has good general information on propagation. The Royal Horticultural Society's page about Campsis includes information on various propagation methods.

Date 2017-06-08
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Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Campsis

I was given a Campsis radicans 'Galen.' I've heard this vine can be invasive. Do I dare plant it? What do I need to be wary of?


Campsis radicans is certainly aggressive and potentially invasive in some areas, but to what degree depends on where you live. It is listed as a weed in the Northeast, the South, and Kentucky. The Missouri Botanical Garden has another profile of this plant.

I have seen it growing here in Seattle, and it seems to do well but perhaps not so well that it is a major concern in this area. Since it spreads by runners and seeds, keep it trimmed and do not let the flowers go to seed. Wear gloves when handling it, as it can be a skin irritant.

Date 2018-06-07
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Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Campsis, Hummingbirds, Native plant gardening

I live in Bellevue and was thinking of planting a couple of Trumpet vines against a very tall wood fence in my yard (Campsis radicans). I found quite a lot of messages online about these plants being very invasive. Do you know that to be true for this area? If so, what other plants could I use against the fence and which attract hummingbirds as the Trumpet Vine claims to do.


Campsis radicans (trumpet vine)is not considered officially invasive in the Pacific Northwest, though it may be an aggressive grower that needs (or takes up) a fair amount of space. If you do decide to look for alternative vines to grow, scarlet runner bean is attractive to hummingbirds, as are honeysuckle (harder to grow than Campsis as it has occasional problems with aphids), and clematis, according to Naturescaping, published by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (2001).

The local website of Rainyside Gardeners has a list of nectar plants for Northwest hummingbirds. Of the plants on this list (which includes Campsis radicans, Honeysuckle(Lonicera), and Scarlet runner bean), Eccremocarpus scaber, Ipomoea, Jasminum stephanense, Mina lobata, and Tropaeolum are all vines, some of which are annual.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife also has a plant list for attracting hummingbirds.

King County Natural Resources has a searchable native plant guide, and here are the native plants they recommend for hummingbirds:

  • Tree:
    • Madrone; madrona (Arbutus menziesii)
  • Vine:
    • Orange honeysuckle (Lonicera ciliosa)
  • Shrub:
    • Red-flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum)
    • Black gooseberry (Ribes lacustre)
  • Groundcover:
    • Thrift; sea pink (Armeria maritima)
    • Western columbine (Aquilegia formosa)
    • Cooley's hedge nettle (Stachys cooleyae)

In my own garden, the Italian Jasmine (Jasminum humile, a shrub grown against a wall, not a vine) appeals to hummingbirds, and in the fall they seem to like the Camellia sasanqua.

Date 2017-05-26
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Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Campsis, Pruning

I have a beautiful trumpet vine which grows against a south-facing fence. It flowered for the first time this year. Several sources say to prune it in March. Is that correct, and if so, how close to the ground should it be pruned? Also, I'd like to plant a few to climb my pergola. Should they be planted in the ground or would large pots be OK?


Your sources are correct, although my research indicated that 'late winter to early spring' is fine for pruning Campsis radicans. Whenever you prune, you want to consider that frost (or even cold weather and/or wind) can damage new growth--March is generally considered a safe time from that perspective.

Trumpet vine flowers on growth produced during the current season, so you can cut it back hard if you are trying to control its growth. Pruning it to within 6-8 inches of the ground (when it's young or if it needs a renovation later on) will encourage vigorous growth of a stout, strong set of basal branches.

The American Horticultural Society's Pruning and Training (DK Publishing, 1996), says the following:

  • Select two or three of the strongest shoots and remove the rest.
  • Train [them] to the supporting wires or trellis (...) until shoots extend fully over the allotted space (...) it may take two or three seasons to complete the framework (...)
  • Once it is established, prune the plant annually, spur-pruning all lateral shoots back to within two or three buds of the main stems.

If you prune it to the ground next year, you can begin to develop a strong framework, if you haven't already. Otherwise, you can prune as needed to the suggested two or three buds from the main stem. You can also follow this set of instructions if you choose to do a renovation. Over time, this vigorous plant may outgrow its space; you can then cut it to the ground and let it come back. It responds well to hard pruning.

I did not see mention of this plant in any of several books I consulted about container gardening. While that does not mean you cannot grow this vine in a pot, my suspicion is that the stout base required of this vigorous grower may not develop in a pot. This plant does need sufficient room for a root system that can support the base and each season's growth. If possible, I think you should plant the vines in the ground.

Date 2018-07-12
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May 31 2018 13:14:08