Trumpet flower: care and varieties

Trumpet flower: care and varieties


The American trumpet flower, botanically Campsis radicans, which is more relevant to our local garden culture than the Chinese trumpet flower, comes, as the German name suggests, originally from America - more precisely, from the northern to central and eastern areas of the USA. This also provides an essential distinguishing feature in terms of cultivation technology compared to the angel's trumpet, with which the trumpet flower is often confused - in fact, unlike its candidate for confusion from tropical areas, it is hardy, at least most varieties are.

also read

  • The heyday of the trumpet flower
  • The trumpet flower in the garden does not bloom - what to do?
  • Climbing trumpet (Campsis) - location, care, overwintering, reproduction

The Chinese trumpet flower has its origins in eastern China and Japan and is not really hardy.

We also often cultivate a hybrid of the American and Chinese trumpet flowers, the great climbing tropmete (Campsis tagliabuana).


The trumpet flower grows as a woody climbing shrub with twining tendrils that pull themselves upwards with adhesive roots on walls or trellises. It is therefore one of the self-climbers and does not necessarily need a climbing aid. Its growth is quite strong and, depending on the site conditions, it can reach a height of up to 10 meters. But that is rather rare, it usually stays at half this height. In the bucket culture it generally remains even smaller.

The great climbing trumpet grows as a liana-like shrub and is just as big as the American trumpet flower.

The growth characteristics in brief:

  • self-climbing, woody climbing shrub
  • Strong growth
  • Height about 5 to 10 meters


The leaves of the trumpet flower, which can be up to 25 centimeters long, are positioned opposite to the tendrils and, with their unpaired plumage, give off a pretty structure. They show themselves in a light, fresh green when young and later darken a little. The single sheets have a finely sawn edge and taper to a point at the end. The trumpet flower sheds its foliage in autumn after it has turned bright yellow. In spring it drives out its leaves late, around mid-May.


The trumpet flower naturally owes its name to its large, decorative flowers. They are indeed shaped like a tropic and are a stately appearance with a length of up to 7 centimeters. Your tubular intergrowth in front of the bulging funnel (4.63 € on Amazon *) at the end is very long. About twenty of the flowers stand together in clusters on the shoots. The resulting large flower balls stand out attractively from the green foliage with their intense color (depending on the variety, scarlet red to sun yellow).

On the stamens of the easily accessible flower openings, the trumpet flower offers useful insects such as bees and bumblebees a rich supply of nectar.

The trumpet flower blossom in brief:

  • Long tubular shape with a wide arched funnel opening
  • Quite intense colors from scarlet to yellow
  • Valuable food source for beneficial insects


The trumpet flower blooms noticeably late - it does not develop its main bloom for several weeks until August and September and can delight with its colorful splendor until October. In good weather conditions, the first flowers can appear as early as June.

Unfortunately, until you can look forward to the first bloom after planting, you have to be patient - the trumpet flower needs about 4 to 5 years until it has sufficiently established itself in its location for this show of strength.

To note:

  • Most varieties bloom between July and October
  • With some varieties and in warm weather even from June
  • First flowering after planting takes about 4 to 5 years

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Which location is suitable?

Trumpet flowers prefer a sunny, warm location. It should also be protected from rough winds. It is also advantageous if, in contrast to the upper plant area, its base is not exposed to full sunlight. You can shade the root area with a ground cover, for example. However, this should have loose roots so that it does not restrict the flat roots of the trumpet flower.

Trumpet flowers do best in generally milder, drier climates than cool, wet areas. In the south of Germany you can basically count on better success than in the northern and eastern parts of the country.

The trumpet flower does not place high demands on the floor. It should be moderately rich in nutrients, sufficiently moist, relatively clayey, but still permeable. The trumpet flower is hardly interested in the pH value, it can cope with both acidic and alkaline soils.

The location requirement at a glance:

  • warm and sunny
  • sheltered from the wind
  • Shaded floor area
  • Soil moderately rich in nutrients, moist, well drained
  • pH value doesn't matter

Watering the trumpet flower

As a shallow root, the trumpet flower requires a very careful watering practice. Make sure that the root area does not dry out too much and water regularly, especially during longer dry periods in summer. Depending on the size of the plant, the water requirement is also greater. If you keep the trumpet flower in the bucket, watering is necessary even more regularly. You should avoid waterlogging as much as possible. Before watering the next time, always wait until the potting soil has dried well.

Fertilize the trumpet flower properly

Even when planting, it is advisable to provide the trumpet flower with a permanent source of nutrients with ripe compost in the excavated earth. A fresh addition of compost every year in spring is also very good for her. But you should not go beyond this organic fertilizer. Above all, avoid nitrogenous liquid preparations - they only fuel growth in size to the disadvantage of the flower.


Since the trumpet flower generally shows strong growth, regular pruning is an essential chapter in its care. To rejuvenate and increase vitality, it is best to first remove all dead, dried-up twigs in spring. For the targeted promotion of a lush flowering, you can also radically shorten all long side shoots on the main shoots so that the plant is encouraged to form new short shoots. Make sure that a few buds are retained at a time.

A trumpet flower also tolerates radical pruning. You can completely put them back on the cane - this usually results in a powerful new shoot and acts as an effective, fundamental makeover. However, you will have to do without a flower in the following year.

The cutting rules at a glance:

  • vigorously growing trumpet flowers should be cut back regularly
  • Cut back in spring
  • Remove old tendrils, shorten long side shoots to promote flowering
  • Rejuvenating radical pruning is well tolerated


The American and large trumpet flowers are hardy - so you can safely cultivate them outdoors. The winter hardiness, however, is not entirely unlimited. The tolerance limit of the American trumpet flower and the hybrid is around -17 ° C - in extreme winters, damage from the cold cannot be ruled out. Especially freshly planted young plants should be protected from the cold in the first few years in winter with leaves and pine branches in the root area.

To note:

  • American and Greater Trumpet Flowers are hardy
  • Especially protect young specimens from frost damage with branches or in a cold house when the temperature is very severe

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Trumpet flower in the pot

You can also cultivate a trumpet flower in a tub, because with regular pruning it can be kept quite compact. In a solitary position, however, a trellis framework is necessary to which the looping tendons can hold. You should put together the soil substrate rich in humus and implement drainage from coarse sand. Watering and fertilizing with compost should be a little bit smaller when cultivating in a bucket.

The trumpet flower only needs to be repotted if the pot is too narrow and the roots grow out of the lower pot holes.

The trumpet flower is also a little more sensitive to frost in the tub. As a rule, however, it can be overwintered outside. If the temperatures drop below -10 ° C, it is better to put them in a cold house or cover them well with garden fleece.

To note:

  • Pot culture possible with regular pruning
  • Install climbing aid
  • humus-rich substrate with sand drainage
  • regular watering and composting
  • Repot only when the roots are short
  • Better to winter in a cold house

Propagate trumpet flower

Recommended methods for trumpet flower propagation are above all:

  • Lowerers
  • Use of spurs


The best way to propagate a trumpet flower is to use the lowering method. To do this, in spring place a woody shoot in a planter with soil and fix it with a metal hook. Keep the substrate evenly moist. The rooting takes place gradually over the vegetation phase. You should not separate the plant from the mother plant until the following year and then continue to cultivate it protected from frost.


Another method is to use foothills. The trumpet flower preferably forms runners in loose ground. So here you can easily access and first plant the separated young plants in pots in spring.

Seed cultivation

It is of course also possible to propagate the trumpet flower using your own seeds. However, you will then usually receive a specimen that is not particularly blooming. The seeds are collected from the plant after the fruit has ripened and allowed to dry. Before sowing - this can be done all year round - they should be soaked in water for about 6 hours. The seeds need a long time to germinate in a pot with potting soil - around 4 weeks.

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Diseases and pests

Fortunately, trumpet flowers are very resistant to disease and pests. Common but rather harmless ailments are powdery mildew and aphids.


You can recognize powdery mildew by the characteristic and eponymous mealy coating on the leaves. However, the impairment of the plant is moderate. You also do not need to use aggressive artificial means to combat it - you should first cut out the diseased parts of the plant. A spray treatment with a milk-water mixture in a ratio of 1: 9 can also be helpful. If the infestation is severe or advanced, a fungicide may be necessary.


You can usually get these parasites under control by showering them with water. What also helps is to use a stock made from nettles instead of water.

Trumpet flower does not bloom

With regard to this topic, it should first be remembered that a freshly planted trumpet flower takes 3 to 4 years to gather enough strength for a first bloom. So you don't have to hope for the blaze of color during this time. If an established specimen does not flower, it could be for one of the following reasons:

  • Wrong location
  • Missing cut back
  • Specimen grown from seed

Wrong location

The trumpet flower is an extremely sun and warmth-loving plant. A location that is too dark, cold and possibly still draughty can spoil the flowering pleasure. Under such conditions, young buds in particular can also freeze off in early spring.

Missing cut back

The rejuvenation cure in spring by pruning the shoots is very important for good flowering. Because the trumpet flower only forms flowers on the fresh shoots - if there is no cut, new branches may not be able to sprout at all.

Specimen grown from seed

A trumpet flower propagated by seedlings is generally rather unwilling to bloom. Therefore, propagation with your own seeds is not recommended. However, some purchased specimens can also be grown from seeds - this method is the cheapest. Therefore, when buying, make sure that you have a reputable origin and do not fall back on the cheapest offer!

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If you want to prevent the trumpet flower from spreading uncontrollably, cut the fruit off before it ripens. Even if the plant is very beautiful, it can also become a nuisance if it is so eager to seek out.


Madame Galen

Madame Galen is one of the most common varieties of the hybrid trumpet flower Campsis tagliabuana, i.e. the great climbing trumpet. Madame Galen has a slightly weaker growth than the wild Campsis radicans, but still gets an average of 5 meters high. It should also be provided with a climbing aid. Its flowers have an attractive color with yellowish-orange tubes and a scarlet funnel opening. They open from July and usually persist well into September.


The Campsis radicans Flava delights with its beautiful, sun-yellow flowers that appear between July and September. It is very fast growing and is therefore particularly suitable for quick greening of walls. The twisting tendrils quickly overhang, so that a stable climbing aid is indispensable. Like its original form, the Flava needs a sunny, warm location and would like to be shaded at the roots. Compared to the wild form, this variety is slightly smaller with an average height of around 3 meters. It also doesn't tolerate bitterly cold temperatures - you should expect a maximum of -10 ° C.


This type of American trumpet flower impresses above all with its particularly large and numerous flowers in deep orange-red. The flowers also appear a little earlier than those of the wild Campsis radicans. It forms around 10 to 15 flowers per cluster. In good conditions, the Campsis radicans Flamenco reaches up to 10 meters in height. It is very robust against frost.

Indian summer

The Indian Summer variety is also a hybrid of the great climbing trumpet. It takes its name from the bright orange color of its long flowers, which can appear from June and stay until October. The Indian Summer prefers a sunny to partially shaded location and reaches a moderate height of about 4 to 5 meters. Since it grows very quickly, it is well suited for walls and railings that need to be greened quickly.