How to Care for a Trumpet Vine

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Trumpet vine, popular with hummingbirds, can quickly overwhelm your yard,
Trumpet vine, popular with hummingbirds, can quickly overwhelm your yard, (Image: Trellis Trumpet Vines image by phipix from Fotolia.com)

Trumpet vines (Distictis and Bignonia buccintoria) reach heights of up to 30 feet, with each vine adorned with an abundance of trumpet-shaped flowers. They range in color from yellow to red, with white and purple flowering types also available. A climbing vine, they are well suited to planting along fences and trellises where they quickly cover the structure with a cascade of blooms. The plant requires maintenance to thrive, so some care of the trumpet vine is necessary to ensure they continue to flourish for many years.

Things You'll Need

  • Mulch
  • Fertilizer
  • Pruning shears
  • Plant ties

Choose a planting area with partial to full sun and well-draining soil. The more sunlight trumpet vines receive the more they flower. Choose an area near an existing fence or erect a trellis at planting.

Water as needed to keep the soil moist but not soggy. Provide approximately 1 inch of water in a single weekly watering as opposed to frequent, shallow irrigation. Lay a 1- to 2-inch layer of mulch around the plants to help preserve soil moisture.

Fertilize vines in the spring as they begin growing again. Use 1 cup per plant of a 5-10-5 fertilizer or one formulated for flowering vines. Fertilize a second time at mid-summer.

Pinch off the tip of each vine as it begins growing each spring to encourage branching and full plants. Prune away old, dead vines to the base of the plant.

Tie heavy vines or those that pull away from the fence or trellis to the support structure. Tie loosely with cloth or plastic plant ties as necessary.

Tips & Warnings

  • Pinch off the top of the vines if they are becoming too tall. This limits upward growth and encourages more lateral branching.
  • Trumpet vines have evergreen leaves, adding color to the garden year-around.
  • Trumpet vines produce abundant seed pods which may cause quite a bit of garden debris. Remove the pods often to prevent self-seeding.

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