The Hummingbird Vine – Backyard Food Growing

The Hummingbird Vine is a very beautiful, fast growing, deciduous woody vine that hummingbirds just love. This plant is also known as a Trumpet Vine because of the shape of the flowers it produces.

Aliases

Trumpet Vine, Hummingbird Vine, Star Glory, Cypress Vine, Trumpet Creeper, Cow Itch Vine, Hell Vine and Devil’s Shoestring.

Latin Lingo

The Hummingbird vine or Trumpet Creeper is called Campsis radicans in Latin. It is a species of flowering plant in the family called Bignoniaceae.

The Latin word “radicans” means “with stems that take root”. This is an important characteristic to pay attention to before purchasing and planting this one. This means that just about anywhere the stems and vines of this plant touch, it will root and grow. The Trumpet vine really doesn’t need any help or fertilizer. It’s a vigorous grower and will take root easily on its own. No specific propagation is needed.

What’s a Creeper?

Be wary of any plant that includes anything to do with the word “creep” in its name.  Two more good examples are “Creeping Jenny” and “Blue Star Creeper”.

These types of plants and vines tend to never stop creeping…ever. This isn’t necessarily a bad characteristic of a given plant but it’s something that definitely needs consideration before choosing a place to plant it.

If you’re looking for a plant that will cover a large ground area or back fence line in a yard, then creepers will probably be a good choice. They are not something to choose for a small area that is intended to look tidy and manicured. That is unless you are planning a whole lot of trimming and pruning.

History

The Hummingbird vine is native to the eastern USA and has become naturalized over parts of the western USA as well. It also finds home in Ontario and many other southern regions of Canada as well.

The English colonists in Virginia during the 17th century were first to notice how beautiful the large 3″ flowers of this plant were and how easy it was to grow. For this reason, it quickly made its way back to England where it’s now seen frequently in many regions. It grows many shades of beautiful colours, from red to orange and pink and also golden peachy coral to a bright yellow.

Growth

The Trumpet Vine is considered invasive in England and many other areas. It’s one that needs caution and pre-planning before you let it loose in your garden. This is a very vigorous growing plant that will easily take over the area you put it and then keep on going.

It has a fast growing vine and root system that splits off in many directions and will take root from the stems while still in the air!

It will start growing easily on a variety of surfaces. This vine should not be planted near your home or any buildings due to the roots having the ability to crack foundations and split siding and shingles quite easily.

It’s structure features jagged leaves with perfectly opposing sets of leaflets. There are usually 4-6 pairs on each leaf with a single one at the end of a leaf that can reach 12″ long.

Don’t plant this vine at the bottom of a living tree because it is such a vigorous grower that it will grow in to the tree and wrap itself tightly around it, this will suffocate the tree in a short amount of time.

Benefits

The Hummingbird vine does have a few good qualities that deserve some consideration.

Their fast growing dense nature provides a great environment for birds of all types to build their nests in safety without being seen easily by predators.

It’s a fact that hummingbirds love this plant, so we can count on the fact that its presence will attract them to make nests in safety. The hummingbirds being around will also increase the pollination rate in your garden as well.

This means a better harvest with more vegetables, berries and delicious fruit in the summer…and that’s never a bad thing!

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