Bignonia capreolata/Crossvine

Bignonia is a fast-growing perennial vine that’s semi-evergreen or fully evergreen in milder parts of its range. It bursts in the spring with these amazing 2-inch-long reddish-orange floral trumpets, then reblooms sporadically until autumn. Unscented. Its common name comes from the cross shape of cross-sections of its stem. It’s similar to and often confused with the often too-vigorous “trumpet creeper”.

The variety ‘Tangerine Beauty’ blooms more profusely than most, and its blooms are more orange than the species. (Photo right.)

‘Dragon Lady’ is more reliably hardy than the species in Zone 6, the coldest part of its range, and more adaptable to extremes of soil temperatures, from dry to damp.

Native from Florida to East Texas, also Maryland, West Virginia and the Ohio Valley.

Uses

Works with any trellis or arbor, but needs training (winding or attaching). Clings to stone or, brick without support. Softens a masonry retaining wall, camouflages unattractive structures. Best to plant where its gummy leaves fall on the ground, not on porches or walkways.

Details

  • Needs full sun or part shade. Tolerates but blooms poorly in heavy shade.
  • Grows 8 feet or more in a season and can reach 50 feet up a tree.
  • Flowers dark red or orange depending on which variety.
  • Hardy in Zones 6-9 (‘Dragon Lady’ is more reliable in Zone 6 than the species.)
  • Foliage, where evergreen, is reddish purple in winter, dark green in summer.
  • Highly deer-resistant.
  • Source of nectar for hummingbirds and butterflies
  • Adaptable to all soils. Listed by authorities as “rugged,” which is encouraging.