Red bignonia: Plant Care amd Growing Guide | Virginia jasmine (Campsis radicans)

The red bignonia (Campsis radicans), also known as Virginia jasmine or trumpet vine, for its superb bell-shaped flowers and climbing ability, is a very interesting plant to cover pergolas. In summer you will enjoy its shade while in winter, being deciduous, it will let all the light through.

Red bignonia, Virginia jasmine, trumpet vine or climbing trumpet ( Campsis radicans )
Red bignonia, Virginia jasmine, trumpet vine or climbing trumpet ( Campsis radicans )

Now I have longing for this climber and its flowers. I have it inevitably associated with summer and my esteemed Costa Brava, where it is common to decorate facades and other verticals . A generous planter is all you need to climb and climb the white walls, with a seafaring air. Far are their red trumpets, with this relentless cold.

I present to you the red bignonia

Campsis radicans does not mind climbing up to ten meters in height , with the help of its tendrils or roots with which it will attach itself to any structure. It is an energetic bush, which will give you the first satisfactions soon – it takes little time to grow. The qualities of this bignoniaceae make it a great candidate as a vine for your garden . It will be convenient, however, its control by pruning, a consequence of its tremendous energy.

The large pinnate leaves of this climber, with between nine and eleven leaflets – oval and with a serrated margin – will dress the plant only until autumn. Then they will fall irretrievably, leaving the plant bare until spring. It will be better this way; it will let the sun through during the winter.

Well into the summer, its red or orange flowers will appear , boldly displaying its trumpet-shaped corolla . Campsis radicans will flower from its new shoots, forming a kind of terminal clusters. Few flowers will be as showy as those of the bignonia. Don’t despair if you are slow to catch a glimpse of them, they may take until their fourth year of life, but it will be worth the wait.

Uses of Campsis radicans

The red bignonia or Virginia jasmine comes precisely from there: from the southeastern United States. It does not care, therefore, climates with a certain contrast. It perfectly withstands the heats of summer and tolerates frosts without complaint , as long as they are not excessive. Thus it will be suitable both for the Mediterranean coast and for other areas located inland – an all-terrain, come on …! -.

Trumpet shaped flowers of Campsis radicans

The lack of space will not be an impediment for the bignonia either. Get yourself a good planter and, despite its potential size, you can even grow it on your small terrace. You will only have to govern it by pruning. Either on the ground or in a pot, place it against a wall, fence or other structure . Her aerial roots should take care of the rest, although she will appreciate it if you make her job easier by holding her at first, when she is still young.

Cultivation and care

Campsis radicans is a rustic plant, as well as tremendously decorative . You will not have problems with its maintenance, as long as you have it in some consideration. Now I give you some clues as to what you will need.Do you know the red bignonia or Virginia jasmine? 


Although it can tolerate less lighting (it can handle a semi-shaded location), try to place your bignonia in full sun ; in this way he will reward you with a greater number of flowers . If possible, transplant with mild temperatures: late winter, early spring or autumn, it will be ideal.


It will not matter whether you plant your bignonia in the ground or in a pot . You decide where! But if you do it in a container, so that it develops conveniently, make sure it is as large as possible.

The ideal substrate should be nutritious and with good drainage capacity . A mixture of universal substrate with some sand and mulch will delight your climbing trumpet.

Irrigation and compost

Campsis radicans will withstand drought to a certain extent, but it will appreciate that the waterings are relatively frequent (especially in summer). What it will not tolerate is waterlogging . You must hit the point of humidity in the soil. It has to be light, nothing to happen to you!

You can use irrigation to add some liquid fertilizer -perfect for potted specimens. In this case, do it from spring to fall (approximately every two weeks). In this link you can easily find it:


Since bignonia blooms from its terminal stems, it should be pruned in late winter . In this way, the production of flowers will be encouraged with the new budding. Already put, take the opportunity to control its growth and lower it in height as far as you consider, as well as to eliminate diseased branches that may reduce its vigor.

Plagues and diseases

Apart from the risk of root rot , assuming they lack adequate drainage or there is excess watering, Virginia jasmine does not suffer from serious setbacks. Maybe the aphids or other suckers dare to bother you but, if you read me every week, you know that you will easily control them by applying for example potassium soap or neem oil. Avoid, if possible, non-ecological insecticides.


It is common, due to its ease of rooting, the use of hardwood or semi-woody stakes for its reproduction. Although you can also try it by layering . Simply hold one of the branches with some support to the ground, until by itself and with direct and permanent contact it ends up generating its own roots.

Another not so successful option is the use of its seeds . In this case, it is recommended to stratify them cold (below 10ºC), for at least two months. This will accelerate its germination.

If you want a vigorous and resistant vine, as well as beautiful, I recommend it. The red bignonia or Virginia jasmine will undoubtedly be a great choice . In addition to entertaining you with its precious flowers, it will let in the light during the cold months, -where its shadow would become a nuisance- not a negligible quality if you grow it on a pergola.

Just be sure to offer your Campsis a few minimums – enough light and just the right humidity – which she will pay off handsomely. What more could you want?

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