Trumpet vine/trumpet creeper (Campsis radicans) is a fantastic vine plant that is excellent at attracting hummingbirds and some other pollinators. In fact, it is sometimes called a ‘hummingbird vine’ because it is so attractive to hummers. And their many large flowers brighten any garden.
The long tubular reddish flowers of the trumper creeper are a perfect fit for the long beak that is extended by the hummers’ proboscis that is used like a straw to sip the nectar from inside the flowers. And trumpet creeper is native to many states in the U.S. as well as Ontario in Canada (see map of native areas)
Long tongued bees like the bumblebee in this photo also pollinate trumpet creeper. With all the loss of the non-native honeybees, it is even more important to provide these nectar producing flowers for bumblebees and other native bees. They will reward you by not only pollinating these trumpet creepers but other plants in your yard (they have done a great job pollinating my tomato and pepper plants).
Bumblebees can be said to ‘really get into their work’ as shown in the bottom photo–yes, these bumblebees go right inside of the trumper creeper flower to get to it’s nectar!
Another benefit of trumper creeper vines is that they are larval hosts to Trumpet Vine Sphinx Moth (Paratraea plebeja): ” Caterpillars hide on the underside of stems during the day, and emerge to feed at night. Fully-grown caterpillars pupate in chambers in soft soil. Caterpillars of the second brood pupate and overwinter in their chambers.”
I bet a lot of readers already have trumper creeper vines in their yards. Do you see hummers and bees pollinating your trumper creeper flowers? Have you seen any Trumpet Vine Spinx Moths that may have used the flowers as a larval host?
IMPORTANT POST NOTE: Everyone I know that have this plant have not had any problems with them but after reading the first comment below and some on the Birds and Blooms facebook site, I did more research. Trumpet creeper vine CAN CAUSE SKIN IRRITATION AND ITCH, SOMETIMES SEVERE. Though many may not have a problem, please be cautious and consider wearing gloves when working with it.
I knew it was rambunctious but I have found many vines are so. But some people just have really bad problems with it so it is important that you consider carefully where you plants it–be cautious about planting near buildings or foundations as it can cause damage. I will do more research and provide more detailed info on this later this evening.
More Info: Hilton Pond that is a major source of info on Ruby-throated Hummingbirds says the following: “…it is absolutely an amazing attractant for hummingbirds. Here at Hilton Pond Center we maintain a monstrous monoculture of Trumpet Creeper that serves as centerpiece for our hummingbird trapping area“.
More tips (linked to source) for controlling this rambunctious vine:
- “To keep it in check, plant it near concrete or an area that you can mow; mowing down the suckers will discourage them.“
- “Flowers on new growth. Head back stems in late winter to early spring to control growth and encourage branching. Remove suckers and root-prune to discourage underground runners. Cut stems to ten inches to renew.“
- Louis the Plant Geek has a lengthy ‘How to handle it’ section on managing it