How to Grow Hummingbird Vines


Also known as trumpet creeper or trumpet vine, the hummingbird vine (Campsis radicans) grows natively in the southeastern United States. Commonly found growing on fences and trellises and along the edges of forests in the wild, the deciduous woody vine climbs and creeps over anything in its path. Clusters of showy, yellow-orange to red trumpet-shaped flowers appear in late spring to summer, attracting hummingbirds with their nectar. Cultivated in America since colonial times, hummingbird vine thrives in USDA hardiness zones 6 through 10. Typical planting locations include woodland gardens and natural areas where it has room to climb and spread.

Step 1

Plant hummingbird vines during spring, after all danger of frost has passed. Choose a location that receives full sunlight throughout the day for optimal flowering. Plant in rich, moist, well-drained soil near a trellis or fence to give the vine a support to climb.

Step 2

Use a shovel to dig a hole at the planting site of equal depth and twice as wide as the plant's root ball. Insert the root system into the hole, and gently backfill with soil. Water lightly to bring moisture into contact with the roots and compact the soil. Space hummingbird vines 36 to 60 inches apart.

Step 3

Water the vines once every five to seven days during the spring, summer and fall months. Reduce the watering frequency to once every two weeks during winter, when active growth has ceased and the vine needs less moisture to survive. Soak the soil to a depth of at least 4 inches at each watering.

Step 4

Feed the vine twice per year, once during early spring and again in late fall, using a balanced 10-10-10 NPK granular fertilizer. Water immediately after applying to dissolve the fertilizer into the soil. Check the information provided by the manufacturer for proper dosage.

Step 5

Prune hummingbird vines during summer to keep them from invading other portions of the lawn or garden. Use hedge clippers to cut back all overgrown vines and remove any dead or diseased foliage to improve the plant's appearance and overall health.

Tips and Warnings

  • Once established, hummingbird vine's aggressive nature makes it difficult to eradicate. Plant it far from other plants and buildings, as it may kill plants and cause damage to buildings, particularly painted surfaces. Hummingbird vines are also known as cow-itch vines, referring to the irritating sap they produce. Wear gloves when handling the plant to avoid the minor skin irritation.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Fertilizer
  • Hedge clippers


  • Campsis radicans
  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: Campsis radicans, Trumpetcreeper
  • "Indiana Gardener's Guide"; Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp, Tom Tyler; 2004

Who Can Help

  • USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
Keywords: hummingbird vine, Campsis radicans, trumpet vine

About this Author

Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. Sidhe's work has been published on numerous Web sites, including