Trumpet Vine Winter Care: Caring For Trumpet Vine In Winter


By: Teo Spengler

The trumpet vine really knows how to climb. This deciduous, clinging vine can climb to heights of 30 feet (9 m.) during the growing season. The bright scarlet, trumpet-shaped blossoms are beloved by both gardeners and hummingbirds. Read on for information on trumpet vine care in winter, including how to winterize a trumpet vine.

Overwintering Trumpet Vines

Trumpet vines are hardy in a wide range, growing happily in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 10, so they do not need winter protection in most regions. Trumpet vine care in winter is minimal. As cold weather arrives, they will wilt and die; in spring they start again from zero to reach the same, startling heights.

For that reason, trumpet vine winter care is very easy. You do not have to provide much trumpet vine care in winter to protect the plant. Caring for trumpet vine in winter is simply a matter of layering some organic mulch over the vine’s roots. In fact, the plant is so hardy, rampant, and invasive in the Southeastern part of the country that it is called hell vine or devil’s shoestring.

How to Winterize a Trumpet Vine

However, experts advise gardeners who are overwintering trumpet vines to cut them back severely in winter. Trumpet vine winter care should include pruning all of the stems and foliage back to within 10 inches (25.5 cm.) from the surface of the soil. Reduce all side shoots so that there are only a few buds on each. As always, remove any dead or diseased stems at the base. If you want to know how to winterize a trumpet vine, pruning is the simple answer.

Do this pruning in late fall as part of your preparation for overwintering trumpet vines. The reason for this close haircut is to prevent the vine’s rampant growth the following spring. Don’t forget to sterilize the pruning tool before you begin by wiping the blades with one part denatured alcohol, one part water.

If you include severe pruning as part of your plan for caring for trumpet vine in winter, you get the added advantage of additional flowers the following spring. The trumpet vine blooms on new wood of the season, so a hard trim will stimulate additional flowers.

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Read more about Trumpet Vine


How to Grow Trumpet Vines

Birdwatchers are often tempted to plant the trumpet vine (Campsis radicans) because its orange flowers attract hummingbirds. But experienced gardeners often know better, as this climbing vine is aggressive to the point of being a nuisance. The fast-growing vine spreads easily via underground runners as well as by self-seeding. And it can quickly escape its garden site and form thickets that can choke out other plants.

Trumpet vine's glossy dark green leaves can grow up to 15 inches long and feature seven to 11 elliptic or oblong, serrated leaflets that are roughly 4 inches long. The foliage turns yellow in the fall before dropping off the vine for winter. Clusters of trumpet-shaped flowers appear during the summer months and reach around 1 to 3 inches long before giving way to bean-like seed capsules. Trumpet vines are best planted in the spring or early fall.

Botanical Name Campsis radicans
Common Names Trumpet vine, trumpet creeper, cow itch vine, hummingbird vine
Plant Type Vine
Mature Size 25–40 ft. long, 5–10 ft. wide
Sun Exposure Full, partial
Soil Type Well-drained
Soil pH Acidic, neutral
Bloom Time Summer
Flower Color Orange, red, yellow
Hardiness Zones 4–9 (USDA)
Native Area North America
Toxicity Toxic to people and animals


How to Grow: Trumpet Vine

full sun, part sun, part shade

Bloom Period and Seasonal Color

Mid summer to fall with red, orange or yellow flowers

Mature Height x Spread

10 to 30 feet x 5 to 10 feet

attracts beneficials, attracts hummingbirds, native, deer resistant

This aggressive, woody vine produces large clusters of trumpet-shaped flowers, prized by hummingbirds. The flowers give way to bean-shaped pods. It also has attractive, long dark green leaves made of 7, 9 or 11 leaflets. Trumpet vines are easy to grow. In fact, the problem with trumpet vine isn’t growing it, but restraining it. It covered my deck in my old house after only a few years of growing. It needs yearly attention to pruning and supporting to keep the vine in bounds and growing vertically. The vine has aerial rootlets that climb on walls and structures, but since it is so heavy it may need other supports to keep it vertical. For that reason, it’s a great addition to trellises, fences and arbors.

When, Where and How to Plant

Trumpet vines are hardy throughout New England, but may experience some winter dieback in colder regions. Purchase plants at a local garden center and plant from spring to early fall in full to part sun on well-drained, moist soil. Space plants 5 to 10 feet apart.

Trumpet vines don’t need additional fertilizer and actually thrive on only moderately fertile soil. Add a thin layer of compost in spring to keep the vine healthy. Trumpet vine does need moist soil, however, so water well and mulch for bark mulch each spring for moisture retention and weed prevention.

Regional Advice and Care

Trumpet vine is slow to leaf out in spring, so don’t assume it has died if the branches are still bare while other shrubs have leaves or flowers. Trumpet vine can become too aggressive for its space and needs to be pruned back each spring. Prune out any dead, broken or diseased branches first. The flowers forms on new growth, so in spring after it leafs out, prune back wayward branches to the trunk and shorter structural branches. This will stimulate more new growth and potentially more flowers. Trumpet vine also can be an invasive vine in New England, so remove spent flowers to prevent seed from forming and cut back any new shoots arising from the roots.

Companion Planting and Design

Grow trumpet vines up walls, arbors, pergolas, fences and lampposts. It looks great as a backdrop to other tall perennial flowers, such as coneflowers and bee balm. It grows well in part shade, creating a dark green wall of foliage, but it won’t flower as well as vines grown in full sun. Trumpet vine can also grow over walls or down banks to cover a slope.

‘Crimson Trumpet’ has deep red flowers. ‘Indian Summer’ has orange-red colored flowers and stronger aerial roots. ‘Flava’ has yellow colored flowers. ‘Variegata’ has orange flowers with white and green leaves.


Also known as angel's trumpets, these beauties are worth saving from year to year

When I started working at Gardener's Supply in the 1990s, my Vermont backyard was pretty green—with grass. Today, there's just a tiny bit of the original lawn left. Most of the available space has given way to trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals and stonework. Watch a slideshow of my garden in Burlington, VT.

In addition to my work at Gardener's Supply, I work in the gardening division at Church Hill Landscapes. In that role, I maintain dozens of gardens and learn a lot in the process. I believe that all gardening is good gardening.

This plant was bought in an 8-inch pot in spring and repotted into a 12" pot.

F OR high drama in the garden, there's nothing quite like a brugmansia in full bloom. Known as the angel's trumpet, this show-stopper has 6" to 10" blooms that dangle from sturdy branches. In one season, these shrubby, subtropical plants can easily reach 6'. A plant that's been saved from season to season will grow even taller, producing flushes of bloom that can include dozens of flowers.

Because of their beauty, brugmansias are worth saving from year to year. It's easy.

You'll find brugmansias at garden centers in spring — usually sold with the annuals. Grow the plant in a container and fertilize regularly. Because these plants are thirsty, invest in a self-watering pot.

In late summer or fall, when temperatures drop near freezing, cut back on watering and stop fertilizing. Before the first frost, move the brugmansia into storage to go dormant. All you need is a cool, dark, frost-free place — 30 to 45 degrees F. is ideal. I keep mine in the cellar. Water it occasionally through the winter to keep the root ball barely moist.

In spring, when nighttime temperatures are not predicted to dip below 32 degrees F., bring the plant out and repot it, as described in the photos, below.

After a winter in the dark basement, a brugmansia looks pretty ragged. Hard to believe there is any life in it, but the pale green shoot at the base shows promise.

Overwintered brugmansias will grow from the roots, as this shoot shows, and from last year's woody growth.

Remove the plant from its pot and rejuvenate it by teasing out the roots with your fingers. Don't be worried if you break a few roots. This technique, called "root-pruning," doesn't harm the plant.

Use a soil knife or trowel to break apart dense masses of roots. I plan to use a pot that's the same size as last season, so I'm trimming about 2" from the original root ball.

When finished, the root ball looks a little rough — and considerably smaller. Fresh soil, fertilizer and water will jumpstart the dormant plant.

When finished, the root ball looks a little rough — and considerably smaller. Fresh soil, fertilizer and water will jumpstart the dormant plant.

Position the trimmed root ball in the pot so that the soil surface will be a couple inches below the rim. Make sure the root ball is firmly seated in the new soil. Water thoroughly to settle the soil.

Usually there is some die-back during the winter, so you'll have to prune a few inches off the tips. To tell if your branch is still viable, scrape the bark with the blade of your pruners to see if there is a bright green layer just below the surface.

Prune as you wish. I prune into an open vase shape. New growth will support the dangling, trumpet-shaped blooms.


Melinda Myers

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Mandevilla, now botanically known as Dipladenia, is a popular vine with shiny green leaves and trumpet shaped flowers in red, white, pink, yellow or apricot. This tropical vine is only hardy in frost-free areas. That means the rest of us need to overwinter it indoors if we want to save the plant for next year’s garden.

If indoor growing space is limited, consider taking 4 to 6” cuttings. Dip the cut end in a rooting hormone and stick it in moist vermiculite or a well-drained potting mix to root. Then plant it and grow it like a houseplant.

Or move the whole plant indoors in front of a sunny window and grow it like a houseplant. Water thoroughly when the top inch of soil is starting to dry.

A third option is storing it in a cool dark location. Water just often enough to keep the roots from drying out.

A bit more information: Be sure to quarantine any plants you move indoors before adding them to your indoor garden. Monitor the plants for several weeks, watching for any pests that may have hitched a ride inside on the plant.


Melinda Myers

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Trumpet vines are a favorite plant for attracting hummingbirds to the garden. But lots of leaves and no flowers are a common problem for gardeners. Don’t give up you can get this vine blooming for you and the hummingbirds to enjoy.

Be patient. Trumpet vines need to reach maturity to flower. This can take up to five or seven years.

Make sure the plant receives plenty of sunlight. Move plants to a full sun location if needed.

Avoid high nitrogen fertilizers near the plant. These encourage leaf and stem growth and discourage flowers. Instead consider using a low nitrogen slow release fertilizer on this and all your plantings. It’s a good choice for all your plants’ needs.

And only use a blossom booster if your soil test indicates you need more phosphorous. Most garden soils are high to excessive in phosphorous and adding more can interfere with the uptake of other nutrients.

A bit more information: Trumpet vines bloom on new growth and can be pruned late winter or early spring. Prune established plants yearly to control the rampant growth. Remove weak and damaged stems back to the main framework. Cut the side shoots back to two or three buds from the main stems that form the framework. If a major branch dies, prune back to the base. Then train the strongest shoot to replace it. You can renovate this vine by pruning all the growth back to 12 inches above the ground.


Watch the video: Angel trumpet - grow u0026 care Brugmansia


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