Trumpet Vine

(Question)

Was recommended a trumpet vine to grow up a pergola. However, many horror stories about this vine can be found online. Granted most of these are from the southern states. Still, it will be planted next to a patio and I fear the roots (suckers) coming up between the stones, or worse into the neighbours. Is this a real concern or am I reading toomany horror stories on the net. Thanks. It’s recently planted, but I feel like I should get rid of it.

(Answer)

Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners with your inquiry.

Trumpet vine (Campsis radicans) flower is great for attracting hummingbirds to your garden however, along with the beauty of the flower you have right to be concerned about how quickly it spreads. Without regular pruning in the spring or the fall this vine can reach 30-40 feet in just one season.

Trumpet vine is a fast-growing perennial vine and although not on official lists of invasive plants, this vine spreads through its suckering growth. New growth can spring up several feet away from the original plant and will also muscle their way between patio stones.

I speak from personal experience when I say that you must be vigilant, and detach and dig up unwanted suckers whenever they appear or pretty soon you will have an entire garden full of unwanted offspring. Once established, trumpet vine can easily take over and is extremely difficult to get rid of.

If you do decide to keep this plant in your garden be sure to choose a suitable location prior to planting as well as a sturdy support structure. Planting too close to your home could result in damage from the vine’s creeping roots so it’s important that you plant the vine some distance from the home. They can work their way under shingles and even cause damage to foundations.

This vine thrives in both sun and partial shade. While it prefers a nice well-draining soil, trumpet vine is resilient enough to adapt to nearly any soil and will grow readily. Water only as needed and do not fertilize.

You may wish to check out Landscape Ontario’s list of vines to help you select the perfect vine for your location.

Reading through this list I must caution you on selecting Bittersweet which is on Ontario’s Invasive Species List or Chocolate Vine, which although beautiful can become invasive if not controlled with regular pruning.