Campsis radicans (Trumpet creeper)


Trumpet creeper is certainly the prototypical hummingbird flower with its tubular flowers that are dripping in large quantities of nectar. This has been one of the more challenging plants in our garden. We first planted trumpet creeper from bare root plants obtained from a mail order nursery. This trumpet creeper finally flowered for the first time in its fifth year in our garden (which is not an uncommon occurrence; it can take this amount of time for these plants to become established and big enough to flower). The flowers of this trumpet creeper were yellow. Our yellow trumpet creeper flowered profusely in 2005 and 2006, but the hummingbirds rarely visited the yellow flowers.
In 2002, we purchased a trumpet creeper with red flowers (variety: Minnesota Red) in a large four gallon container that was 4 feet tall and already had open blossoms. In 2003, it died back to the ground and resprouted from the soil. It grew up to 6 feet tall and flowered late in the growing season. Unfortunately, the vine did not become woody and it again died back to the ground. Then, the same story in 2004. At the end of the 2004 growing season, we had hoped to wrap the main vine with material to protect it from the winter weather, but the vine became brittle and snapped off near ground level in November 2004. In 2005, we placed a stack of bricks next to the trumpet creeper with the hopes that the bricks would heat up and create a microenvironment that would allow the stems of the vine to become woody. Our experiment worked and in 2006, we had a woody vine and the first trumpet creeper flower opened on July 5. The hummers visited the red trumpet creeper only infrequently, likely because there were not that many flowers in bloom. We expect increased use of this plant in 2007 when the plant will be stronger and will have many more flowers in bloom.

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