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Trumpetvine’s orange flowers are a beacon to every hummingbird on the block. And, they shine all summer! You’ll have hummers in your yard for three months—that’s how long it blooms—when you plant this cherished native in your garden. Trumpetvine will fuel their aerial acrobatics better than a store-bought feeder, too, because its nectar contains valuable micronutrients that sugar water lacks. When the flowers are finally spent, goldfinches and Pine Siskins are among those that may come to dine on the seeds. Keep ’em coming with this avian favorite.
Although it looks like a tropical vine you might find in some steamy jungle, Trumpetvine, a.k.a. Trumpetcreeper, is in fact a native of the eastern U.S. It can be found in fencerows, along forest edges, and in all sorts of wild spaces from Missouri to Pennsylvania and south to Texas and Florida. Sprouting readily from seeds and suckers, it has also spread outside its native range. Trumpetvine thrives because of its alley-cat toughness. It tolerates drought, poor soil, alkaline soil, salt, and winter temperatures that drop to -30ºF. Being native to the South, extreme heat and humidity are no problem, either.
Trumpetvine is a self-clinging vine, which means it will attach itself directly to wood, brick, or any other rough surface it can climb. This can be a good thing—you don’t have to tie up the plant or stake it. But the clinging roots can also damage siding and masonry. Be careful where you plant it.
How to Grow
Regarding Trumpetvine in general, tree and shrub guru Michael Dirr bluntly states, “If you cannot grow this, give up gardening.” Ha! Well, yes, growing Trumpetvine is easy, but there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, give it full sun and well-drained soil. This plant loves sunshine and heat. It will be quite drought tolerant once established, but make sure to water it regularly the first year while it puts roots down. Feel free to prune it whenever it starts to get a little wild-looking. You can trim it hard in early spring without sacrificing the blooms; the flowers are developed on “new wood”—not on last year’s branches. It leafs out late, so be patient.
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