Trumpet Tree – Plant, nurture and overwinter


Who wants to get an eye-catcher in the garden, which is best advised with the trumpet tree. But beware: it is slightly poisonous in all its parts of the plant.

Adult Gold Trumpet Tree ‘Aurea’ – © v_blinov –

The trumpet tree is one of the trumpet tree plants and can reach considerable heights and a stature height of up to 18 meters. While the trunk looks rather thick and shortened, the treetop may seem all the more expansive. The heart-shaped leaves reach a length of up to 20 centimeters. However, the trees are especially prized for their flowers and are used as ornamental shrubs in gardens and parks. The striking, reminiscent of trumpets flowers have also given the trees their name.

Common trumpet trees are also used in their homeland as a crop and are considered a popular bee pasture. For hobby gardeners we are more interested in the smaller species. These grow very slowly and can also provide balcony and terrace for eye-catching.

The trumpet tree is slightly poisonous in all its parts. Mainly the active substance Catalpin prevails. This has not been detected only in the seeds. The leaves contain coumaric acid, caffeic acid and ursolic acid. Allergic reactions can also occur when you come into contact with the wood.

The spread of the trumpet tree

The original home of the trumpet tree is in the USA. They are found in the southeastern United States as well as in Florida. There, the plant is a popular ornamental wood and can be found in parks and in many private gardens. In the 18th century, the plant reached Europe and today is cultivated selectively in our latitudes. Especially the gold trumpet tree and the ball-trumpet tree can be found in many gardens or on terraces and balconies. In the wild, the trumpet tree is native to arid soils and sunny locations.

When does the trumpet tree bloom?

The heyday of the trumpet tree extends over the months of June and July. Already in May, the about four millimeters long round flower buds can appear. The flower of the trumpet tree is striking, as the white and up to 15 centimeters long flowers are crossed by two yellow stripes and show purple to golden spots.

What types of trumpet trees are there?

Gold Trumpet Tree:

Gold trumpet tree (Catalpa bignonioides ‘Aurea’)
Growth rate:20 – 30 cm a year
Height:400 – 700 cm
Spread:300 – 500 cm
Root system:Heart-rooting
Location:Sun to partial shade
Ground:moist and nutritious, otherwise very undemanding

The gold trumpet tree came from our native USA into our latitudes in the 18th century. In contrast to the common trumpet tree these popular ornamental plants grow only four to six meters in height. The gold trumpet tree has golden yellow leaves after budding, which emit a scent that is audible in the evenings, protecting it from mosquitoes.

The small trees are very late and appear bald at the beginning of May. In a warm and sunny spot, the gold trumpet tree thrives especially well. Young plants appear less robust and require growth support and winter protection.

Ball Trumpet Tree:

Cut ball trees
The small trumpet tree ‘Nana’ for the front yard – © schulzfoto –
Ball-trumpet tree (Catalpa bignonioides ‘Nana’)
Growth rate:5 – 10 cm a year
Height:200 – 300 cm
Spread:200 – 300 cm
Root system:Heart-rooting
Location:Sun to partial shade
Ground:normal garden soil, permeable u. nutritious

Ball Trumpet Trees are the small and compact alternative to the vigorous tree giant from the plant family. The particularly popular variety “Nana” is only about four meters high. The spherical, dense and up to 3 meters cantilevered crown is an excellent shade dispenser.

Every year, ball-trumpet trees grow about 20 centimeters. You should pay attention to this when planting. Even this little species needs enough space! After the refinement of the trumpet tree, the half-stem stops growing. Only the spherical crown forms in the course of time stately and compact.

The trumpet-shaped, white flowers appear on panicles up to 15 centimeters long and are pure white. The fruits reminiscent of cigars are up to 30 inches long and do not fall off in winter. The leaves are thrown off in the fall, however. Foliage does not take place.

Plant the trumpet tree – all information at a glance

Trumpet trees have room in every small garden in their small species. Especially the ball-trumpet tree has long been native to our latitudes. As the plants grow very slowly, they can be cultivated very well in the tub for the first few years. However, the tree makes some demands on its location and requires a lot of water.


A sunny location is gratefully accepted by the plants. Trumpet trees also thrive in partial shade. But then you have to make compromises in growth and flowering. So that the branches do not buckle, you should also choose a sheltered location. A sheltered location is also beneficial for hibernating the plant. In addition, there should be no lack of space at the site of the plant, because even smaller species can reach heights of growth of up to six meters.

Tip: Planted in groups, trumpet trees can serve as natural shade donors.


Even when choosing the substrate, the plant is not undemanding. The soil should be fresh and nutritious. Ideal is a sand-clay mixture with a pH between 7 and 8. You can enhance the nutrient content of the soil with a composting at planting time. Furthermore, you must keep the soil evenly moist.


If you want to plant a trumpet tree in your garden, spring is the perfect time to do so. The best way to plant is as follows:

  1. Allow the root ball to soak in water before planting.
  2. Lift the plant hole twice the size of the root ball.
  3. Use the plant without damaging the roots.
  4. Place a wooden stake as a support in the planting hole and tie the tree to it.
  5. Finally, close the planting hole and water the plant sufficiently.

How to properly pour trumpet trees

The trumpet tree has adapted very well to our climatic conditions and is a rather uncomplicated plant. If you want to enjoy your trumpet tree for a long time, you should water it diligently, because the plant needs an even humidity. But you should not overdo it, because waterlogging will make the plant really bad and the roots will start to rot quickly. Container plants have a higher water requirement. Always teach the coaster to prevent waterlogging.

On hot days, watering in the morning and evening hours makes sense. You should not water during the hot midday hours.

So trumpet trees are fertilized properly

So that the plant grows well, you can give long-term fertilizer after planting. If you mix compost under the substrate in spring, the plant is usually sufficiently supplied with nutrients. During the growing season, you should provide potted plants with a commercially available complete fertilizer about every two weeks, which you add to the irrigation water.

Tip: If the leaves lose their rich green color, the plant lacks nutrients and should be fertilized as soon as possible.

Do trumpet trees make a pruning?

The ordinary trumpet tree can grow up to 18 meters in height. A pruning is still possible without any problems. After the winter, you can, for example, cut out old and brittle branches. Another cut is possible at the end of the growth phase, ie in early autumn. Radical pruning should only be done on sunny and dry days. Then the wound closure is accelerated. When pruning you should always pay attention to the natural growth direction of the trumpet tree. If the incision is made on asymmetrical leaves, you can reach an early bloom.

The ball-trumpet trees commonly found in the gardens are a refinement of the ordinary trumpet tree. The basis for the refinement is the half-stem. You should bring the globular trees into shape each spring. Older plants only need to be cleared in the fall, so that the branches do not corrode.

How can trumpet trees be multiplied?

The propagation of the plant can be done by seed or offshoot. These are the two easiest ways. The following explains exactly how to proceed with both methods.

Propagation by seeds:

Sowing of the seeds takes place in spring in the field. Here, patience is needed, because the plant drives, as already mentioned, very late. Young plants need a lot of water, a support and a winter shelter.

From the seeds you can also bring in new plants in the house. To do this, you should allow the seeds to swell in water for a while and then plant them in moist soil. Then cover the seeds with earth for about five millimeters and sprinkle abundantly. After about 1.5 months, the first shoots should show up. A cover of foil, plastic or glass accelerates the germination period. When repotting the seedlings, you must then take care that you do not damage the delicate roots.

Propagation by offshoot:

Offsprings often form on older plants. These arise from branches that reach down to the earth and have formed roots there. The offshoots can be removed from the ground and put back into the ground elsewhere.

Wintering over trumpet trees – That’s how it’s done

Over time, the trumpet tree has adapted very well to our climatic conditions and can almost be classified as winter proof. However, young plants need some help to get through the cold season. The treetop can be wrapped with foil or garden fleece, for example. Since the tree bark can rupture in cold and dry winter days, you should prevent and help with a lime paint. If the stem is painted white, it will be spared from frost damage.

Plants in the tub should be brought into the house, because container plants are more prone to frost damage. Bring it best in a cool and bright room.

Incidentally: Up to the age of five, we talk about young plants that need winter protection.

Detect and combat diseases and pests in the trumpet tree

Trumpet tree flowers
© balakleypb –

The plant generally appears quite robust, which does not protect the trumpet tree completely from pests and diseases. You might get involved with the following pests and diseases:


If the plant is too moist, the risk of infestation with powdery mildew is great. The disease is easily recognized by a floury coating on the leaves. You can easily strip it off initially. Later, the leaves roll in, wither and fall off. Milk or whey diluted in water are a good home remedy. Simply spray the plant several times a week with the solution.

Verticillium wilting:

This mushroom proves to be particularly aggressive and for the plant comes mostly any help too late. Often, the disease is recognized too late and changes to the leaves are attributed to care mistakes. The fungus can be recognized by yellow leaves, which curl up and eventually fall off. It stops the supply of nutrients, so that the plant can no longer transport water and dies.

To prevent infestation, you should always choose fresh, nutrient-rich soil when planting, and regularly, but moderately, pour and fertilize. If the trumpet tree is still attacked, you should cut it back radically. Do not dispose of the affected parts of the plant on the compost, otherwise the disease will spread. You must also disinfect used garden tools.

Fire encrusting fungus:

This fungus is also particularly insidious, because it attacks the roots and can not initially optically be identified. The crustal fungus can be recognized in the course of remarkably brightly colored fruiting bodies, which gradually decay. Here, too, you can only prevent by appropriate choice of location and appropriate care. Effective antidotes are lacking so far, which is why the trumpet tree will unfortunately die off.


Aphids take to the leaves of the trumpet tree to create. They are easy to recognize and can be collected from the plant. That’s best done early in the morning. Even with soapy water, garlic sauce ( instructions Knoblauchsud make yourself ) or stinging nettle ( manual Nettle make themselves ) you can act in an environmentally friendly manner effective against the pests.

Spider mites:

Less effective is the action against spider mites. These can sustainably weaken the plants and are often only available with chemical pesticides.


The trumpet tree is also haunted by snails. Especially young plants are affected. The snails climb the trunks and eat the leaves. You can easily collect the snails by hand. Instead of applying the aggressive slug pellets, you can also create a ring of fir-spines, gravel, coffee grounds or cat litter around the trunk, as these are an obstacle to snails. Here are some more tips against snails in the garden .

Summary of the best care tips for the trumpet tree

  • a lot of sun
  • lots of space
  • protected location
  • nutritious and moist soil
  • pour enough
  • Roots must not dry out
  • Avoid waterlogging
  • Support young plants and protect against frost

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