Friday, August 12, 2011
The other day, my sister took me out to the edge of a wooded area to show off her trumpet vine seed pods. Trumpet vines, campsis radicans, can be grown in garden on arbors or fences, and like some plants, they create both positive and negative emotions.
Positive because they are easy to grow, produce beautiful orange to reddish flowers and they might have been a vine your grandmother grew on a fence or up a pole. Negative because they can be invasive and have been compared to kudzu or ivy and some people can have allergy symptoms after coming in contact with the leaves. (Not like poison ivy.)
They can be trained to cover arbors or privacy fences but must be cut back or they can "jump" to other areas -- so you must be ready to prune heavily in the spring, fall and even sometimes during the summer. They grow to 35 feet and can damage a tree or rock fence by growing into them. Trumpet vines can completely hide a chain link fence and unlike other vines, the flowers last all summer. They can easily grow up and cover an unsightly post or pole. They don't need too much fertilizer or you will see growth in vines, but not many flowers.
The foliage is a deep, rich green and seed pods are very large, containing quite a number of seeds. The pods break open an spread the seeds when they are dried. The pods may be edible for birds but I couldn't find any data on that. I wouldn't recommend trying them especially since the leaves are irritating for some people.
I really like them. These were totally voluntary and very interesting plants. I hadn't really considered growing them in my yard, but who knows. I have always wanted an arbor. One where you put a table underneath and have tea while hummingbirds flutter around the trumpet vine flowers. Sounds really good to me.