Today I felt compelled to comment on a reddit.com/r/flower post involving the Trumpet Creeper. A redditor mentioned they were thinking about planting one of these mischievous plants. This plant actually has warning videos on YouTube (Thanks, Mike from Plight to Freedom).
Read on to hear my cautionary tale.
The best I can do is tell you my story and let you determine if it is a good idea to plant.
I moved into my first house a little over four years ago and along the property line my neighbor had three or four of these plants in a row on his side of the fence. They do attract hummingbirds and miscellaneous birds will use the plant as a shelter in the winter (Zone 6b). Our neighborhood is one where we have grid-like streets and my house backs up to another property, roughly 1/8th an acre each.
Our house had been vacant for three years so I gradually went about weeding and seeing what type of soil I had, how routine maintenance would work out, etc etc. After clearing the three-foot strip between my driveway and my neighbor’s four-foot wooden fence I noticed a couple weeks later I had, “friends.” These friends were runners shooting up from my neighbor’s trumpet vine. Then I noticed across the driveway (10 feet) there was a shoot coming up through my asphalt.
I tried cutting them back, “do what you want with whatever is on your side of the fence,” my neighbor said. Then I tried digging them up, cutting them back, and putting THREE layers of barrier fabric down. None of that worked. It was kind of creepy to see the shoots tenting up the fabric before eventually breaking through, making an ominous pile of mulch.
Every Spring I’d say, “howdy neighbor, do you need any help digging those plants out this year?”
After a time, that neighbor moved out. He seriously was a great, “take anything you need out of the garage” type of neighbor. The good news was my new neighbors HATED the plants. They just wanted grass for their kids and a rambunctious Boxer. Now it was my turn, “take anything you need out of my garage!”
I sat on my raised deck under a big umbrella sipping a beer and surveying the carnage taking place only feet away. My neighbor gave it a good initial effort but was eventually defeated by the plant. I thought that might be enough to stunt whatever was left, nope.
Once June hits here this plant is rampant. I usually cut it back four or five times a year just to keep it from ruining my driveway. It doesn’t care who’s feelings it hurts, it just grows. It’ll separate wooden fence and could easily engulf a chain link fence. The plant eventually tops out around seven feet in height and I have no idea how far it would spread if it didn’t have a driveway, house, or some other part of the landscape holding it at bay.
To this day, my neighbor and I fight this beautiful yet evil plant. Should you decide to put one of these in your yard, don’t put it where it could damage property or annoy your neighbor. Unless of course, you don’t like your neighbor. Just know that once it’s there apparently nuking it from orbit is the only feasible way to rid yourself of the Trumpet Creeper.