When to Trim a Trumpet Vine?

Trumpet vine (Campsis radicans) is an easy-to-grow flowering vine noted for its fast growth and bright trumpet-shaped flowers. Native to the United States, trumpet vine is also known as trumpet creeper for its ability to expand through its creeping vines and outreaching roots. Trumpet vine grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 4 through 10. The vine produces flowers on new growth. Trim trumpet vine to control its growth and stimulate more blooms.


Trumpet vine climbs over fences, arbors, buildings and outcroppings. These vines spread through extensive deep root systems as well as thick woody stems that grow aerial roots. The aerial roots act as suckers, attaching to retaining walls or buildings. The stems 30 feet or longer and are strong, breaking off housing shingles, damaging siding and breaking windows as they grow and twine around structures. The early summer flowers, in colours of yellow, orange and red, attract hummingbirds.


Trim back trumpet vine at any time to control its aggressive growth. Prune out dead or diseased stems whenever you see them. Trim vines in hanging baskets back to maintain size and shape. When trumpet vine is creeping under siding or into desirable landscaping, trim stems back immediately to a main stem. Redirect its growth whenever you see the creeping vine leaving its decorative zone. Plant the vine on a trellis or fence, not against a building, so that you can easily trim it on all sides.


Whack back trumpet vine vigorously during its dormant season. Take out at least 30 per cent of the oldest woody growth. Remove up to 95 per cent of the vine, keeping a few main stems that follow the plant support. Good supports include trellises, arbors, fences, or chain link fence. This assertive plant covers ugly buildings, vacant lots or junk corners, but still must be pruned to maintain control. Cutting back the vine or creeper encourages more blooms. As ants enjoy the habitat of the vine, cut back runners that carry ants to inhabited areas.


Trumpet vine or creeper is invasive. It thrives in full sun, grows vigorously in wet or dry soil, spreads in sandy, loamy or clay locations and puts up new shoots from its extensive root system. Eradicate it by digging out new plants and as many roots as you can find. Cut the plant back to ground level. Paint the cut ends with full strength brush killer. Repeat as needed to prevent regrowth. Choose products that kill poison ivy, poison oak or other vine plants.

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About the Author

Phyllis Benson is a professional writer and creative artist. Her 25-year background includes work as an editor, syndicated reporter and feature writer for publications including "Journal Plus," "McClatchy Newspapers" and "Sacramento Union." Benson earned her Bachelor of Science degree at California Polytechnic University.