Campsis

Campsis flowers

A small genus of strong-growing, woody-stemmed, climbing perennials, with large exotic-looking tubular flowers. Although not fully hardy they often thrive well when grown over a sunny sheltered wall.

Family: Bignoniaceae
Botanical Name: Campsis
Common Names: Trumpet vine, trumpet creeper

Foliage: Deciduous, long pinnate leaves. The young growth is light green, maturing to dark green.

Flowers: Clusters of large trumpet-shaped flower. Mainly in shades of yellow, red and orange, often with a yellowish throat.

Flowering Period: Late summer and autumn (August, September).

Soil: Moist but well-drained soil (chalk, clay, sand or loam). Acid, alkaline or neutral pH.

Conditions: Full sun. Plant in a west or south facing aspect, in a sheltered location. Needs a strong climbing support.

Habit: Climbing.

Type: Woody perennial climber.

Origin: Japan, China, North America

Hardiness: Reasonably hardy in the UK if grown against a warm, south-facing wall.

Planting and Growing Campsis

Plant in autumn or spring, in any well-drained, humus rich, fertile soil.

Grow against a sheltered sunny wall or other suitable support. Campsis needs a lot of space to spread out as it climbs.

The large striking flower clusters attract pollinating insects. The elegant rich-green foliage provides a lush backdrop when the flowers are not in bloom.

Trumpet vines are deciduous, so they will lose their leaves in autumn before fresh growth appears in spring.

Taking Care of Campsis

Water well in dry weather. Mulch in spring with organic matter. Protect the roots of young plants with a mulch of straw, shredded bark or bracken in winter.

Although self-clinging using aerial roots, it is best to tie in stems as they grow.

Pruning Campsis

Young plants need only be pruned where necessary to restrict growth, in late winter or early spring.

Once an established plant has reached its required size it can be trimmed back in late winter, leaving three or four buds on each shoot. Every few years, cut back one of the oldest main stems by a third to encourage fresh new growth.

Pests and Diseases

Young growth can be affected by aphids. Powdery mildew can occur on the leaves.

Propagating Campsis

Increase by layering in late summer or take 6in (15cm) semi-hardwood cuttings in August. Root in a propagator with a little bottom heat if possible.

Note: cultivars with protected breeders' rights (PBR) cannot be propagated without permission.

Popular Varieties of Campsis

Campsis grandiflora (Campsis chinensis) is a vigorous climber with dark green leaves and terminal clusters of dark orange to red, trumpet-shaped flowers. Supported height up to 24ft (8m) or more in a favourable position.

Campsis radicans a vigorous, deciduous woody vine, with showy trumpet-shaped flowers. Cultivars include:

  • f. flava (RHS Award of Garden Merit) bears masses of trumpet-shaped, deep yellow flowers all summer long. Eventual height to 40ft (12m), spread 13ft (4m). For sale at Thompson & Morgan.
  • 'Flamenco' scarlet, trumpet-shaped flowers from June to August. For sale at Thompson & Morgan.
  • 'Stromboli' clusters of large red trumpet-shaped flowers from mid July into autumn. Height & spread to 23ft (7m). For sale at Thompson & Morgan.

Campsis x tagliabuana (hybrid) a vigorous climber that bears clusters of tropical-looking, trumpet-shaped flowers in rich shades of yellow, red or orange. Compact and not as vigorous as other varieties. Supported height 7-10ft (2-3m) or more if left untrimmed. Cultivars include:

  • 'Indian Summer' peachy orange flowers in late summer and autumn. For sale at Crocus.
  • 'Madame Galen' salmon-red trumpet flowers in August/September. For sale at Van Meuwen.
  • 'Summer Jazz Gold' bright yellow flowers and glossy green leaves. For sale at You Garden.
  • 'Summer Jazz Fire Trumpet' fiery-red flowers in late summer and autumn. For sale at Crocus.
  • 'Yellow Trumpet' golden-yellow flowers from spring into autumn. For sale at Thompson & Morgan.