Allamanda isn’t the most common shrub out there, but those who own one wouldn’t have it any other way.
Perhaps these plants would become a household name if more people knew about one of its most attractive cultivars, Allamanda cathartica (al-uh-MAN-da kath-AR-tick-uh) ‘Compacta.’
This perennial sport is better known as the dwarf allamanda, this perennial sport remains small and compact, presenting a wonderful show when it blooms.
Members of the Apocynaceae family, Allamandas, are found throughout Central and South America, from Argentina to Mexico.
It’s known by several common names, including:
- Dwarf allamanda
- Dwarf allamanda shrub
- Dwarf bush allamanda
- Dwarf golden trumpet
Dwarf Allamanda Shrub Care
Size & Growth
A single specimen of this dwarf tropical shrub grows to a modest 2 to 3’ feet tall and up to 3’ feet wide.
Green Foliage – Green Leaves
The evergreen leaves are a glossy dark green, which contrasts well with its blooms.
Some reports show that this moderately fast grower can reach 5’ feet under certain conditions but is easy to keep pruned to the desired height.
The extra heights reported are likely due to the parent allamanda plant having some vining habits that allow it to climb tree trunks in nature for better lighting.
While best grown outdoors, this plant is small enough to be grown in containers, making it adaptable to indoor life.
Yellow Flowers and Fragrance
This plant loves its flowers as much as you will, and it produces them intermittently throughout the growing season and even into winter when the conditions are warm enough.
The blooms are a wonderful golden-yellow color, large and trumpet-shaped, although they aren’t as fragrant as many other garden plants.
Light & Temperature
This shrub loves sunlight and should be placed in a spot where it will receive full sun for much of the day.
It’s tolerant of partial shade during part of the day, such as in the morning or evening, as long as it gets plenty of light the rest of the day.
While your dwarf allamanda will grow will in a range of conditions, it prefers moderate humidity.
When growing outdoors in a more arid climate, consider misting the plant when it’s not facing direct sunlight.
These plants grow best outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11.
They’re able to handle temperatures as low as 25° degrees Fahrenheit, although some dieback may occur.
Any dieback will be replaced in the spring, thanks to the plant’s durability and growth speed.
The plant is also very resilient during heat waves, giving it even more versatility than many other plants.
The ideal temperature range, however, is between 50 and 85° degrees Fahrenheit.
Watering and Feeding
Thanks to the profuse blooming and growth, overwatering isn’t as much of an issue with this plant as most others.
When the soil is dry to 1” inch down, it’s time to give it a thorough watering.
You may also need to mist during particularly hot months.
While it can handle short periods of drought, this can lead to some leaf drop or wilting.
As expected from such a bushy plant, the dwarf allamanda needs a regular diet of balanced fertilizer.
Apply a liquid fertilizer every two weeks during the growing season, following the instructions on the package.
Conversely, you may choose to use a slow-release fertilizer in the spring and summer.
While the plant isn’t as likely to suffer burns as other plants, feeding it too much can lead to overcrowding and a reduction in bloom quantity.
Soil & Transplanting
As with most plants, the most important quality it needs in soil is that it’s well-draining.
Choose an orchid mix or similarly rich soil when planting in pots.
Outdoor soil types can include loamy, sandy, or silty earth.
A good soil pH is between 5.5 and 6.
Dwarf allamanda is somewhat more compact than its cousins, it will need repotting every two years to replace the soil.
If the plants become root bound, you may choose to trim the roots back instead of getting a larger pot.
Just remember that trimming the roots can increase transplant shock, so it may be a couple of weeks before your dwarf plant begins producing new leaves or flowers.
Grooming And Maintenance
Due to its fast growth rate, you may choose to prune your dwarf plant to help shape it.
It’s also fine to prune away any dead or damaged leaves and deadhead flowers.
How To Propagate Dwarf Bush Allamanda
This plant is propagated mainly through stem cuttings in early spring.
Dwarf Golden Trumpet Pests or Diseases
This is a great plant for growing in a wide range of conditions, as it’s deer resistant, moderately salt resistant, cold-resistant down to around 25° degrees Fahrenheit.
It can tolerate short periods of drought or excess heat and is highly resistant to pests and disease.
The pests most likely to attack your dwarf allamanda are aphids, oleander caterpillars, plumeria caterpillars, and spider mites.
As with all members of the dogbane family, this plant is poisonous if consumed.
The sap may cause skin irritation.
Dwarf Allamanda Uses
This plant’s parent species has been used in a wide range of traditional and modern medical treatments, from malaria to jaundice, and may even be a means of treating HIV.
The sport itself is ideal accent plant for borders and low hedges.
Both butterflies and hummingbirds are attracted to the bright flowers, making it a great plant to stick near windows or other vantage points.
The dwarf golden trumpet is small enough to be planted in hanging baskets, where it will cascade down.
It is perfect for accents, entryways, along water features, around mailboxes or posts, borders, mass planting, or as the central feature for beds of smaller plants.
While not as prolific as its parent plant, you can place this dwarf cultivar along a trellis, where it will climb a short distance.
It works well as a companion on your balcony, deck, or porch in colder climates as long as you bring it indoors when temperatures begin to drop.