image by john_k/flickr.com
The trumpet creeper is a very fast-growing vine with trumpet shaped flowers that attracts hummingbirds. Trumpet creeper often is referred to as cow itch because there is a substance in the plant that can cause extreme itching. It can grow up to 30 feet tall and generally blooms in the summer months. The plants can be very invasive if not controlled and often are seen as pests.
Prepare an area of soil for your trumpet creeper. The pH of the soil should be from 6.1 to 7.8. This can be determined with a soil tester. Nitrate fertilizers will increase soil pH and lime will lower it. Plants should be planted in an area that gets mostly shade or partial sun. Too much sun can dry out the leaves.
Plant your trumpet seeds at a depth of 1/4 inch in the early spring, after the first frost. Existing vines can be thinned and transplanted, and can help prevent the flower from becoming crowded. Because the plants can grow so large, you will need to space out the seeds to a width of 1 to 3 feet. Flowers will not begin to grow until May.
Wear gloves when planting or pruning the trumpet creeper. This plant can cause skin irritation or an allergic reaction. Do not wipe your face or other exposed areas of the body after handling trumpet creeper. The reaction that some have with trumpet creeper is similar to that of poison oak.
Water your plant regularly to make sure the soil is moist but not saturated. Allowing the flower to dry out will kill it. Your plant may need to be fertilized, but test the soil beforehand to make sure it contains the proper pH.
Harvest the seed pods once they have become brown and dry. Break open the pods and remove the seeds. Wash the seeds and allow them to dry. When the seeds are dry, store them in a cool, dry place until planting season the next spring.