Crossvine Care: How To Grow Bignonia Capreolata Vines

Bignonia capreolata [big-NO-nee-uh kap-ree-oh-LAH-tuh] the Crossvine, is a fast-growing climber native to the United States. It thrives in the tropical regions of central and southern America. 

The Crossvine, is named after Abbe Jean Paul Bignon, who was an 18th Century Latin librarian. Capreolata is descriptive of the tendons that the plant has.

Blooming Bignonia capreolata Crossvine - Tangerine Beauty
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It is from the Trumpet Creeper or family Bignoniaceae. The common name is Crossvine. Others in the family include the Orange Trumpet Vine and Tecoma stans the Yellow Bell flower.

Bignonia Capreolata also has several synonyms including:

  • Anisostichus capreolata
  • Anisostichus crucigera

A popular variety is the Cross vine Tangerine Beauty.

Bignonia Capreolata Care

Size & Growth

Bignonia Capreolata is an evergreen or semievergreen vine. It can climb with its tendrils rapidly up to 30’ feet tall with a spread of 6′-9’ feet wide. Its trumpet shaped flowers are up to 2″ inches long.

The leaves on the crossvine plant start off as a light green color. They progress to a glossy, dark green as they mature. The winter cold causes some of the leaves to become a purple-like color. 

Flowering and Fragrance

The flowers are gold, orange red, or reddish purple burgundy. You will often encounter them with petals that have a combination of these colors. 

The flowers are colorful and mildly fragrant. Blooming occurs towards the end of winter or in early spring. They usually occur in bunches of 2-5. 

When the blooms of the trumpet shaped flowers end as a fruit type legume. 

They grow in pods, which are an average of 7” inches long. The fruits are brown/copper and green. Harvest time comes in late summer. 

Light & Temperature

Bignonia Capreolata performs well growing in full sun. An open shaded area would also be adequate. The best flowers are associated with exposure to full sun. 

The Tangerine Beauty Crossvine is free blooming, with exceptionally bright colored apricot orange flowers.

Watering and Feeding

Bignonia Capreolata is heat and drought resistant.  It has a medium water requirement.

Allow the plant to be fully established before reducing the amount of water given. Once established allow the ground to dry before watering the plant again. 

Soil & Transplanting

Plant Bignonia Capreolata cross vines in well-drained soil. It thrives when the soil is not kept soggy. The ideal soil is loamy, sandy with good organic matter. 

The organic matter provides the plant with sufficient nutrients. A neutral pH is ideal for this plant. 

The crossvine Bignonia can be transplanted from one area to another with no trouble. But, make sure the roots are not destroyed in the process. 

If the cross vine is transplanted from a covered area to one outside in full sun, this should only be done outside of the winter.

Allow young plants to become well-rooted and established before transplanting them.  

Trumper Creeper Grooming and Maintenance

Maintenance is considered to be medium rated. The grooming process involves the pruning after the flowering comes to an end. 

This can be done as a way of containing the size of the plant. The flowers should be deadheaded at the end of the flowering period.

Cutting the branches in the spring results in the growth of more flowers. 

How To Propagate Bignonia Capreolata

Propagation can be carried out using seeds, root cuttings, softwood cuttings or simple layering.

Growing Crossvine From Seed

  • Seeds can be purchased or harvested from the plant. 
  • The best time to harvest crossvine seeds is in late summer when their pods have browned.
  • Once harvested the seeds can be stored for planting at a later day.
  • The seeds have an incredibly high rate of germination.
  • Plant seeds no more than 2” inches below the soil surface.
  • Watering should be done liberally. 
  • If the soil is not porous, consider adding perlite to the soil mix.
  • The soil should be allowed to retain moisture without overwatering.
  • Germination will usually take no more than 3 weeks.
  • Planting of seeds should be done indoors all-year-round. 

If planting is to be done directly into the ground outdoors, it must be carried out after the winter. They do not fare particularly well in frosty conditions. 

Growing Crossvine From Rooted Cuttings

  • Root cuttings should start by identifying healthy areas where there are good roots.
  • Cut the plant on either side to separate it from the main plant. 
  • The cutting can be planted directly into the ground or a container.
  • Only the roots should be buried under the ground.
  • Water the root cutting liberally at the beginning.
  • Allow it to retain moisture in the soil. 
  • Softwood cuttings can be taken from any part of the plant.
  • The young branches are usually quicker at developing new roots. 
  • They can be planted in a hole that is at least 2” inches deep.
  • Water them at least once a week to allow the cutting to retain moisture. 

Starting Trumper Creeper by Simple Layering

Graphic demonstrating the Simple Layering technique

Bignonia Capreolata Pest or Disease Problems

There are no major diseases or pests prevalent around Bignonia Capreolata. Leaf spots and Anthracnose do show up.

The one big issue to the mindful of is that it is a flammable plant. 

In most cases, this wouldn’t be a problem. However, when it is planted indoors or close to a home, it increases the risk of a fire. 

Keep an eye out for aphids followed by sooty mold. Although they do not occur regularly, they will occasionally appear. Mealybugs may also appear. 

Is Bignonia Capreolata Considered Invasive?

Bignonia Capreolata can be invasive. This is especially prevalent when it is planted in moist fertile soil. Its seeds and root suckers allow it to quickly spread. 

If left uncontrolled, it can become an issue. Prevent spreading by frequent pruning and pulling up root suckers when spotted.

Suggested Bignonia Capreolata Uses

Birdwatching enthusiasts use Bignonia Capreolata to attract hummingbirds and provide year-round shelter for wildlife. Deer, beavers, and butterflies are also attracted to this plant. It is a keen source of nectar. 

For decorative purposes, it is used to provide covering fences, pillars, and related structures. 

There is evidence to show that the Bignonia Capreolata had medicinal uses among the Cherokee people. 

In the 18th century, it was considered to be a key ingredient in beer and other drinks that were used to purify the blood. There is no conclusive evidence of this.

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