Cutting Back a Yellow Trumpet Vine

Q: My yellow trumpet vine has never flowered after a few years. I just read your advice to cut it way back before it gets its leaves. Is it too late to do it now? I trimmed some of the longer branches, but it is starting to get leaves. Can I still cut it way back?
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Hardiness Zone: 6a

Thanks,
Patty from Pine Bush, NY

A: Patty,

It sounds as though your vine is still pretty young. If it has only been a few years since you planted it, don't worry about cutting it. Prune it or cut it back to keep it from growing out of control, but otherwise you can leave it alone. Trumpet vines can take as long as 5 years before they flower for the first time. For the first few years (or longer), the vines tend to put their energy into elongating their stems more so than producing leaves and flowers. Because this vine flowers on new growth, it's best to do any serious pruning either after it flowers or in the fall or early spring. Severe pruning is best left for well-established plants that need to be reinvigorated. Lateral, rather than vertical growth will encourage the most flowers so you can pinch back some of the new shoot ends to help balance their growth in a horizontal direction. I've heard of trumpet vines taking as long as 10 years before flowering, so try and be patient and hope that you have a vine genetically predisposed to blooming at an early age.

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May 16, 20060 found this helpful

Wow, you are lucky. We've spent several years unsucessfully trying to eradicate trumpet vine from the property. Personally, I would remove the plant - it is quite invasive and a veritable thug. Any honest professional will tell you this. Not the advice you were looking, sorry about that, but please consider taking action while the plant is small.

If you decide to keep the plant, dig it out anyhow and keep it contained in a pot. Or consider digging a trench around the plant for gravel so that you can contain the roots. The plant will flower at some point and yes, you can cut back the plant at any time. Good luck

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May 16, 20060 found this helpful

A trumpet vine will not bloom until it is 7 years old. I have to agree with Kathy though, it is not a good plant unless you have a very strong trellis. Plus, this plant will send up shoots all over your yard. I too pulled mine out but it took several years to be totally rid of it. A sturdy pot might be the answer but that might not be enough room for the roots.

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August 24, 20080 found this helpful

I have a beautiful yellow trumpet vine growing along side my deck and deck steps as a privacy barrier. I never had ants on the plant. This year it is covered with large black ants. I hate to get rid of the plant. But I do not like the black ants coming into my home. Any feedback on this would be appreciated. TY

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September 30, 20090 found this helpful

My trumpet vine took three years to flower. I let it grow up a dead tree in direct sun most all day at the 8 foot height. Now the fourth year it is over 12' high and has bloomed all year with the large beautiful flowers. I have never cut it back and it has never spread beyond the tree it is attached to. My trumpet vine is set in the middle of the lawn and receives only the care I give the lawn.

My trumpet is so magnificent, now spreading well to all the dead limbs of the tree and still growing. I wish I would have left the tree a lot taller. The vine now grows over the top and will soon hang down. My trumpet vine is the orange variety but this year I planted a yellow next to it. With luck I will have both yellow and orange flowers. I do believe the trumpet puts a lot of energy into its root system before actively growing in height. The results is well worth the wait. I have another trumpet growing on a live tree.

There is more foliage and larger leaves but the vines and flowers do not grow as vigorous. The leaves of the live tree shade it quite a bit. As this vine grows it will climb out of the tree canopy and will display the beautiful orange flowers through the leave and branches of my green maple tree. I win both ways and I can't tell you how pleased I am of these two trumpet vines. They were both planted from the seed pod of a vine located else where in my community.

I have property in another state and I am now collecting seeds to grow and taking cuttings to root. I will take them with me on my vacation there and transplant them next year in the spring. You will notice a bare spot half way up the tree. This is due to the residual chemicals that I used to kill the tree. It was covered with plastic and my trumpet crossed this barrier and is growing wonderfully fast.

I removed the plastic last year covering the treated area. The chemical is 2-4d and was treated three years ago. There is still some residual left killing the ends of my young shoots of the trumpet vine. When the 2-4d decays or the shoots harden up, I can cross this barrier then that area will thicken and cover the trunk.

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