Mandevilla (man-de-VILL-uh) is a genus of New World plants belonging to the dogbane (Apocynaceae) family. Growing Mandevilla vine in pots is an easy way to enjoy these colorful climbers that can reach 20′ feet tall in tropical conditions.
But Mandevillas have a limited zone range when grown indoors.
Due to their need for warmth, it’s become common to grow these lovely plants in containers, often bringing them outside for the summer.
Here’s all you need to know about caring for a potted Mandevilla.
Growing Potted Mandevilla Vines
It’s important to consider the pros and cons of growing this plant in a container.
Benefits Of Potting
The most obvious reason to grow Mandevilla in a pot is that they can only survive outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 9 to 11.
Having one in a container means you can grow it indoors all year or bring it outside during the growing season for more ideal conditions.
Potted plants enjoy a more controlled environment. It minimizes the risk of sudden temperature shifts or humidity.
Unless you’re neglecting them or putting them near a sick plant, potted specimens are less likely to experience pests or disease.
Downsides To Potting
Potted plants are at higher risk of nutrient deficiencies due to the soil’s isolation from natural replenishment.
This can also lead to a buildup of harmful mineral wastes unless you flush the soil or change it regularly.
Overwatering becomes a more significant risk unless you use proper watering methods. It can be harder to ensure adequate sunlight.
The biggest downside is that containers limit growth. A potted Mandevilla will likely not reach more than 5′ feet tall, even with proper support.
How To Care For Potted Mandevillas?
Once you get your Mandevilla into the proper environmental conditions, care is quite simple.
Remember that potted plants are a little less forgiving of mistakes because the soil cannot flush itself naturally.
The more light you can give this plant, the happier and more robust it will become. Full sunlight for at least 6 hours is ideal.
It will survive in light to partial shade at the cost of growth and weaker blooms.
Normal household humidity levels are enough for this plant to grow. It will thrive with a 40% to 60% percent humidity range.
You can augment lower levels by giving the plant a pebble tray or humidifier.
While you CAN mist this plant, it provides a minimal benefit. Also, avoid misting when the plant is in direct line with the sun’s rays, or you risk scorching the leaves.
Mandevillas won’t survive freezing temperatures or in regions colder than zone 9.
Average household temperatures of 65° to 85° Fahrenheit are perfect for these plants.
At night, they’ll be fine with temperatures as low as 60° degrees Fahrenheit but no less than 50° degrees Fahrenheit.
Mandevillas are somewhat drought-tolerant but aren’t drought-hardy.
Missing a watering session here or there won’t prevent it from flowering as long as it gets enough water afterward.
The soak-and-dry method is perfect for a potted Mandevilla. Do this when the soil feels dry 1″ inch down.
Pay attention and stop watering if the soil can no longer absorb at the same rate you’re pouring or you see moisture seeping from the drainage holes.
Give your Mandevilla a half-strength dose of balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer every two weeks during the growing season.
Make sure you stop feeding in the fall and winter, as the plant will be dormant during this time.
Mandevillas like loose, loamy soil, like African violet potting mix with a bit of perlite and moss.
A slightly acidic to neutral pH works best for this plant, so choose your moss carefully.
Peat moss will add a touch of acidity to the soil, while sphagnum slightly reduces the acidity.
If you can find a balance between 7.5 and 7.0, your Mandevilla will be quite happy.
Due to its fast growth rate, you’ll need to repot your Mandevilla every spring.
Replace the soil during this time. Graduate to one larger container size if you see roots poking out of the drainage holes or soil surface.
Grooming and Maintenance
Pruning is essential to Mandevilla care, as blooms will only appear on new growth.
Prune back the plant in late winter to early spring. Remove no more than ⅓ of the plant’s mass, cutting just above a leaf node.
It’s best to remove any dead, damaged, or diseased sections first. Do any plant shaping afterward.
Pests and Disease
Potted mandevillas are less likely to contract infestations or disease. Yet, do not disregard house aphids, scale, spider mites, and whiteflies.
Overwatering can cause root rot, but fungal infections are more likely to occur if the plant is infested or the leaves get wet too often.
Stem cuttings tend to be the most accessible means of propagating a Mandevilla.
You can kill two birds with one stone by coordinating your propagation efforts with the plant’s annual pruning.
Notes on Indoor Blooming
Mandevillas are famous for season-long blooming periods, but growing one indoors can sometimes hinder the display.
The two key factors you’ll need to keep an eye on are phosphorus and light.
Potted plants can move from one window to another to chase the light. Or take the plant outdoors if the temperatures remain high enough.
Or, it might be easier to invest in a grow lamp to augment the natural light.
Ensure the plant isn’t too close, or you could have some leaf scorching.
Continue using balanced fertilizer, switch to a higher phosphorus fertilizer during the peak blooming period, or alternate between the two.
Another option is adding a little bone meal, guano, or rock phosphate powder to boost phosphorus levels naturally. Do this sparingly and follow all package instructions for the best results.
Growing Mandevilla vine in pots are a great way to enjoy these beautiful flowering plants.