Trumpetcreeper (Campsis radicans (L.) Attracts Hummingbirds

Trumpet Creeper (Campsis radicans) in Donna's Garden
Trumpet Creeper (Campsis radicans) in Donna’s Garden.

The Trumpetcreeper vine is in bloom. You would think with the usual flower shape and orange color, this plant would stand out and command attention, but it doesn’t unless you’re up close.

I keep seeing the orange blossoms out of the corner of my eye as I’m driving past. It’s hard to not let this plant distract me.

Growing Trumpetcreeper

Trumpetcreeper is a deciduous or partly evergreen vine that climbs by aerial rootlets and twining stems. It is a North American native.

Trumpetcreeper was way too rigorous for my small garden. I cut down the vine ten years ago, and having been it cutting back every summer since.

Stems can grow up to 12 m long and have numerous aerial rootlets. This fast-growing plant need a strong support to grow on. Grow this vine where you have the space and a strong support.

The showy flowers of Trumpetcreeper make this plant appropriate for some gardening and landscaping needs. It is often used as a cover for fences, arbors, walls, pillars or large trellises and as a ground cover. The cigar-like fruit may be considered decorative during winter.

Finding the Plant

I purchased this vine from a plant sale. It’s hard to find vines at nurseries and plant sales. From what I’ve read Trumpetcreeper is typically propagated by cuttings. It readily roots and develops new suckers that allow the species to grow rapidly.

Seeds are prepared for germination by stratifying them in moist sand for 60 days at 40°C and 30% relative humidity. When I need to cold stratify seeds I sow the seeds in pots (covered with a cage to deter squirrels) and leave the pots outside over winter. Easy and natural.


Trumpetcreeper next to a waterfall at the Chicago Botanic Garden.
Trumpetcreeper next to a waterfall at the Chicago Botanic Garden. cultivar413, CC BY 2.0 <;, via Wikimedia Commons


Common name: Trumpetcreeper, Trumpet Flower, Trumpet Vine
Scientific name: Campsis radicans (L.)
Family name: Bigononiaceae – Trumpet-creeper family

Height: up to 40+ feet (12m) long
Light needed: prefers full sun for best flowering
Hardiness zones: 4-10
Bloom period: from July through August
Bloom color: yellow-orange to red, tubular

Vining: Clings by numerous roots along the stem and suckers

Trumpetcreeper in my garden. Photo: Donna L Long.

Native Range and Habitat

Native range: Trumpet creeper is native to eastern, north-central, and south-central portions of the United States and has become naturalized in New England. Its natural range occurs from Ontario to New Jersey, west to Iowa, and south to Florida and Texas.

Habitat: found in thickets, dry woods, waste grounds, railroads, disturbed sites, clearings, and along roadsides and fence rows.

Soils: The plant grows in wet to dry soils and sand, loam, or clay soil types with a pH range of 3.7 to 6.8. It thrives under poor conditions including well-drained sandy soils, infertile soils and adjacent to ocean. I bet bad soil helps to check the vigorous growth of this vine. But don’t quote me on it.

In moist rich soils: If not controlled, rampant growth can become a problem. Vines should be thinned throughout the growing season and cut back in winter to prevent aggressive spread.

Warning: Contact with the leaves and flowers of Trumpetcreeper results in skin redness and swelling in mammals. It is also slightly toxic if ingested.

Similar Native Plants

I always get the names confused of  Trumpet Honeysuckle (Campsis radicans) and Trumpetcreeper confused. Here’s the two plants side by side.

Another vine: Virginia Creeper 

Attracts These Animals

Attracts: The tubular flowers and large quantities of nectar produced by trumpet creeper are attractants for hummingbirds and butterflies. The vines also provide habitat to ants.

Notice how the dispenser of the hummingbird feeder resembles the blossoms of the Trumpetcreeper.

Not only is the native vine a conversation starter for the garden but it’s the host plant for the striking caterpillar of Trumpet Vine Sphinx Moth.

Host plant to: Trumpet Vine Sphinx Moth

Caterpillar of Trumpet Vine Moth (Paratrea plebeja
Caterpillar of Trumpet Vine Moth (Paratrea plebeja). Photo: Diego Huet, CC BY 4.0 <;, via Wikimedia Commons

moth_Trumpet Vine Moth (Paratrea plebeja), adult
Trumpet Vine Moth (Paratrea plebeja), adult. Photo: xpda, CC BY-SA 4.0 <;, via Wikimedia Commons

Nature Journal Ephemera

Here’s an illustration of Trumpetcreeper to download, print and add to your nature journal. Click on image to download from Wikimedia Commons.

Trumpetcreeper illustration by Abraham Jacobus Wendel
Trumpetcreeper by Abraham Jacobus Wendel, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


For those of you looking for a native vine for a difficult growing area, Trumpetcreeper is a candidate.


More Native Plants to Attract Hummingbirds and Butterflies

Another vine: Virginia Creeper 

Attracting Hummingbirds

Making Hummingbird Nectar

Spring Blooming Flowers to Attract Hummingbirds



  1. Best planted where you can mow around it. Prior owners at my house, planted it in three areas and it constantly shows up 10 feet away from the original vine!

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