Mandevilla Vine Care: How To Grow Colorful Mandevilla

There are many varieties of the tropical vine we call the Mandevilla plant, and all are gorgeous and showy.

The Mandevilla vine has become a popular spring garden center item over the past few years.

These vigorous plants make an excellent spring and summertime addition to any landscape, patio or trellis and they can overwinter nicely indoors during the cold winter months.

mandevilla vine plant

In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about growing, propagating and caring for these tropical vine plants. Read on to learn more.

Mandevilla vs. Dipladenia

The Mandevilla plant got its name from gardener and diplomat, Henry Mandeville. You’ll easily recognize this lovely tropical plant by its glossy oval leaves, colorful trumpet-shaped flowers, and enthusiastic vining habits, which make it an excellent choice growing as a trellis plant.

Dipladenia is a popular cousin of the Mandevilla vine. Its flowers and foliage are very similar, but its growth habits are quite different. Dipladenia grows as a shrub and is an excellent choice in the landscape or growing in a container.

The two types of plants require almost identical care, with the only notable difference involving pruning. Both types of plants can be used in the landscape, in containers, and in hanging baskets. Just be sure to use Mandevilla when you want a climbing plant and Dipladenia when you want a bushy plant.

Both Mandevilla and Dipladenia are easy to care for during the growing season. Both types are rampantly floriferous from spring to autumn. They make great companions for one another in large planters or in a flowerbed setting. The Mandevilla is also one of the top vines for attracting hummingbirds.

What Are The Growing Requirements For Dipladenia and Mandevilla?

These tropical plants like light, warmth, good drainage and protection. Choosing just the right location in the garden and preparing the soil well are the first necessary steps for success when growing Mandevilla and Dipladenia.

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Providing Just The Right Amount Of Sun

The foliage of these plants is certainly attractive, but the showy flowers are the real show-stopper. To be sure of ample, healthy blooms, you must place your Mandevilla in an area where it can stay warm and get plenty of bright, indirect light. You’ll find Mandevilla growing in full sun in south Florida, but the plants seem to do better with a light bit of shading.

If you don’t provide enough sun, you won’t get a good showing of flowers. A high shade setting that receives good sun in the morning and/or afternoon but sheltered at high noon is ideal. Protection from strong winds is also conducive to healthy flower production.

Drainage And Watering

Mandevilla and Dipladenia like to be consistently moist. Allow the soil get almost dry between waterings. Provide a slow, steady trickle of water on a weekly basis. Soak the soil thoroughly, and be sure the plant has good drainage.

These plants do not like to stand in water and will develop root rot if not properly drained. Adjust your watering schedule as needed if you notice signs of plant distress.

If you are keeping your plant indoors, spray the leaves daily to keep humidity levels adequate. If you water outdoors with a hose, treat your plants to a shower to clean the leaves and provide moisture through the leaves.

Choose The Correct Pot Size

When growing Mandevilla or Dipladenia in a pot or container, be sure not to overdo the size. Plants should have enough room for the roots to spread a bit, but if given too much room, they will put all their energy into producing roots, and you won’t get good flower production.mandevilla-giant-pink

If you notice your plant becoming root-bound in its current container, give it more room on the sides when you repot. Giving it a deeper pot can interfere with blossom production.

Typically, you would repot Mandevilla plants every year or two in the springtime. When repotting, be sure to massage the roots to stimulate growth. Give your plant a pruning to remove dead, dried or ailing leaves and stems.

Don’t worry about hurting the plant when pruning. These vigorous growers spring back enthusiastically from dramatic pruning to produce bundles of showy flowers on new growth.

Gardening Tips & Tricks : Growing Mandevilla Flowers

Provide Rich, Well-Drained Soil

One of the most important aspects of Mandevilla care lies in providing the right substrate. These plants need loose, well-drained soil and the right balance of nutrition.

A good compost-based potting mix or soil for container plants can make a good base, but you should mix it with some very fine gravel or sand for lightness and good aeration. A combination of builder’s sand, coco coir or peat moss and good quality potting mix in equal parts is ideal.

Remember to line the bottom of the pot or container with coarse gravel, broken pot shards and/or Styrofoam packing peanuts to provide better drainage.

Use The Right Fertilizer At The Right Time

When purchasing a plant at a nursery or garden center, the plant will probably already have ample slow-release fertilizer incorporated into the soil to last a couple of months. Don’t add more fertilizer to a newly purchased plant. It is unnecessary and may end up burning the roots.

When you’ve had your new Mandevilla for a while, you’ll want to fertilize it cautiously using a slow-release fertilizer or a diluted water-soluble fertilizer solution. Alternately, top dressing with a good organic compost may provide for the needs of your plant.

Understand that the fertilizer needs of houseplants differ from those of plants kept outdoors. Likewise, the fertilizer needs of growing, flower producing plants differ significantly from plants being held in dormancy. Here are a few guidelines to follow.

Fertilizer For Spring/Summer Growing Flowering Plants

For growing, flowering plants in the spring and summer use a well-balanced, water-soluble fertilizer that delivers a healthy dose of phosphorous (e.g. 10-20-10). This will help your plant maintain the energy it needs for vibrant growth.

Observe your plants carefully. If the plants do not respond with the desired results, adjust accordingly. During times of heavy growth and flowering, you may need to apply a liquid fertilizer once every week or two. As the growing season winds down, you should stop fertilizing to help prepare your plant for the winter months.

In late August, give your Mandevilla a light feeding with a very high phosphorus (e.g. 10-56-14) water-soluble fertilizer to fortify it for the coming winter months. This will be its last meal before spring.

How To Successfully Overwinter Your Mandevilla Plant

overwintering-mandevilla-07312016

As the weather becomes cooler, your plant’s flower production will slow down. This is the right time to provide that last meal of fertilizer. Following this, allow your plant to stay outdoors as long as possible. It should be able to tolerate overnight temperatures in the high 40s.

Weather permitting, toward the end of September, prune your plant back for the winter. You’ll want to cut it back to make it easy to bring in and easy to live with over the winter months.

This can be a dramatic pruning, but don’t feel alarmed. These plants are very tolerant of aggressive pruning. You could prune to within a few inches of the soil and still have incredible growth when spring arrives.

As you prepare your plant to come winter indoors, examine it carefully for pests or signs of disease and take appropriate steps to address any problems (see Pests and Problems section below.)

Your plant will not grow much during the winter months, if you want to enjoy it as a houseplant, don’t overdo the pruning. Trim it back to the size you want, and it will probably stay that way throughout the winter months.

You may get a little flurry of growth when initially bringing the plant indoors. Pinch back the growth as needed. Be advised that when pruning or pinching your plant back, you will encounter milky sap (like a Poinsettia). This sap can irritate your skin, and it is toxic to ingest. It’s a good idea to wear gloves while pruning and wash your hands afterward.

How to Trim a Mandevilla : Garden Savvy

Overwinter Care Of The Mandevilla Vine

When keeping your plant indoors as a houseplant, provide it with bright, indirect sunlight near an east or west-facing sunny window. Position your plant away from the door, so cold drafts will not harm it.

Kept as a houseplant, your Mandevilla or Dipladenia will be comfortable at normal home temperatures in the 60s and 70s. If you keep your home warmer, the plant could dry out. In this case, maintain the plant in a cooler area of the house and/or use a humidifier to prevent excessively dry air. Humidifier use is beneficial to people, pets, and houseplants during dry, cold winter months.

During the wintertime, the plant will grow very slowly. Remember you are just trying to maintain it. Don’t encourage growth by feeding it. Just keep it protected and water it lightly when the soil feels dry.

How to Transplant Mandevillas for Winter: Gardening Tips

Dormant Overwintering

If you don’t want to bring your Mandevilla indoors during the winter, simply protect it enough to allow it to go dormant. To do this, allow the plant to stay outdoors until it is quite cool outside, prune it back to about a foot high and move it into your basement or garage. Take care that it stays above freezing (50 degrees Fahrenheit is best) throughout the winter, or you will lose your plant.

Some gardeners like to put the plants inside a plastic bag for the winter. Others leave them uncovered. Either way, your plant should not be receiving sunlight. You want it to maintain a complete, resting state. Just check occasionally to see if the soil is dry. If so, provide a small amount of water.

When it’s almost spring, bring your plants indoors and help them rejuvenate for the growing season.

Getting Your Overwintered Mandevilla Ready For Spring

Whether you overwinter plants indoors or in an outbuilding or basement, in February, examine them for signs of illness or distress. Provide another good pruning to remove any crowded, dead or diseased limbs.

Repot as needed and begin watering and fertilizing for growth. The plants should perk right up and begin growing again.

In late April or early May (earlier in the south), allow the plants a little time outdoors on warm, still, sunny days. Be sure to bring them in at night and when the temperature dips. As the weather becomes more and more reliably warm, allow the plants more time to harden and acclimate to the outdoor life.

If your Mandevilla has put on some new growth during the winter, this will probably die back. Don’t be alarmed! This is normal. The plant will soon be putting out lots of healthy new growth.

When all danger of frost passes and the weather is generally comfortable, place your acclimated plants in their spring and summertime positions in the landscape.

Pests and Problems

You should always be on the lookout for pests and problems with your Mandevilla and all of your plants. This is especially true when preparing to bring any plants indoors for the winter. This preparation time provides the perfect opportunity to treat effectively for the most common Mandevilla pests: aphids, scale insects, mealy bugs, red spider mites, and whiteflies.

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Common Mandevilla and Dipladenia Pests

Aphids typically attack plants weakened due to inadequate care or poor location. If you find these tiny little bugs on your plants, you try removing them with a strong spray of water. Follow this up with treatment using insecticidal soap or neem oil. Take steps to remedy any problems in plant care or location to prevent reinfestation.

Mealybugs and Scale insects usually show up on thirsty plants. Lack of proper watering in summertime or low humidity indoors in wintertime can attract them. Correct problems with your watering and humidifying routines and treat with neem oil.

If you see webbing on the backs of the leaves, check for an infestation of spider mites. These insects turn up when conditions are too hot for the health of the plant. Treat with neem oil and relocate your plant to a cooler, more sheltered location.

Frequent examination of your plants will help keep these pest problems under control. Be sure to look your plants over thoroughly every few days. Perform a particularly thorough inspection before overwintering. Be sure to check the undersides of leaves and examine stems and leaf axils for any sign of unwanted insects, larvae, and eggs.

Prune off diseased or infested portions of the plant. Use a strong spray of water to knock the pests off and then follow up with an appropriate treatment. It’s always best to use the gentlest and most natural effective solution possible. This is why we recommend neem oil, an entirely natural oil very effective against:

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In addition to insect pests, Mandevilla plants may be subject to problems such as fungus and/or yellowing, dropping leaves. The fungus is a sign of excessive watering. It may also be a sign of inadequate ventilation. Adjust your watering schedule and take great care not to water-log the plants. Prune the plant to help air circulate through its leaves.

Some yellowed and dropped leaves are a natural part of the growth and life cycle of the plant. Don’t be alarmed by this unless your plant is losing a significant number of leaves. If this is the case, your plant may be too cold. Move it to a warmer, more sheltered setting and/or turn up the thermostat.

Profile Of The Mandevilla Plant

The Mandevilla plant is a member of the dogbane family. All parts of this plant are toxic, so take special care to keep pets and kids away. This evergreen plant tends to vine, but it may also grow as a bushy heap or trail along the ground if it doesn’t have a trellis like this or other structure to climb.

The plant hails from South America and Central America and is not cold hardy in the United States, but it does exceptionally well during the warm months. It is fast growing, vigorous and can attain a significant amount of growth and produce a lot of flowers in a few short months.

This decorative plant produces shiny, deep green, oval leaves and large, trumpet-shaped flowers continuously and in abundance from May through October in most parts of the US, when well-cared-for.

The plant’s botanical names are Mandevilla sanderi and Dipladenia sanderi both of the genus, Mandevilla. There are over 120 member of this genus all producing gorgeous flowers in an array of shades of white, pink and red. It should be noted there are some vines which produce yellow flowers and are called yellow Mandevilla, but these are actually Urichetes or Pentilinon luteum.

As potted plants or container plants, Mandevilla and Dipladenia make an excellent addition to the home, balcony, deck or patio. Planting directly in the ground (except in the south) is not recommended in the US. These plants are not at all cold hardy and cannot tolerate temperatures lower than about 45 degrees Fahrenheit for an extended period.

If planted in the landscape, they can be dug up, pruned and over-wintered indoors, or cuttings can be taken to propagate young plants during the winter months to take the place of the parent plants in the spring.

The Many Species And Varieties Of Mandevilla

Although there are well over 120 species of this attractive plant, only a few are under cultivation. Here are some of the popular varieties you may encounter.

Mandevilla Alice du Pont

Grow in a container or in the landscape. If allowed to grow freely in the landscape, it can reach a height of twenty feet. If kept in a container, it can be pinched and pruned back to control its size. It is so adaptable that it can be kept in very small pots, hanging baskets or larger containers with no ill effects on its blooming abilities. This plant features large (3-8 inch) glossy, dark green, oval leaves and impressive clusters of large (2-4 inch) trumpet-shaped pink flowers.

Mandevilla Splendens

This plant produces lovely pink flowers, but differ a bit from those of Alice du Pont. Splendens’ flowers are pale pink with a deep pink center. As the blossoms mature, they become a deep rose color. The vining tendrils can reach a length of fifteen feet, but this plant is often successfully pruned into a shrub shape.

Mandevilla sanderi

One of the best-known and most popular is Mandevilla sanderi. This plant features very dense foliage and may sport flowers of white, pink or red. The flowers are arranged in impressive bunches and are two or three inches across. The plant can grow to a height of 2-7 feet.

Mandevilla boliviensis

Boliviensis produces an especially abundant number of very large white flowers with dazzling yellow centers. Leaves are large, smooth, sturdy and shiny. The tendrils of this semi-evergreen plant can stretch to a length of about seven feet.

Mandevilla x amabilis

One of the largest species is Mandevilla x amabilis, which is a hybrid and can attain a height of ten feet. The plant produces strongly textured, dark green leaf and pretty, pale pink flowers that are lightly scented.

Mandevilla Laxa

Also known as Chilean jasmine, Mandevilla Laxa is not from Chile. It is from Argentina. This giant can grow to a height of 16 feet and produces large, richly fragrant flowers in shades of white ranging from snowy to a deep cream color.

Some say the flowers smell like gardenias. Its long leaves are elliptical with a heart-shaped base. This plant needs exceptionally rich soil, and it is an exception among Mandevillas because the roots can be cold hardy to approximately 5 degrees Fahrenheit. Just chop it back all the way to the ground in late autumn and insulate it with a pile of leaves. It will cheerily return in the springtime.

mandevilla-stars-stripes

Interesting Mandevilla Cultivars

  • White Delight has soft stems and pretty, bright white flowers. Its vines attain a length of 12 feet, but this plant is very accommodating when pruned to a smaller size and shape.
  • Stars and Stripes boast red blooms with white stripes. Its leaves are large and glossy, and its vines can attain a length of 12 feet.
  • Summer Snow’s flowers are very large and a dazzling white offset by glossy, dark green leaves.
  • Red Riding Hood produces impressive deep red flowers.
  • Ruby Star’s flowers are an exceptionally deep red shade.

Yellow Delight (Pentalinon luteum) is not a true Mandevilla, but it is a good imposter. It’s a low-growing shrub with jaunty yellow flowers that does very well as a hanging basket plant.

Creative Ways To Plant Mandevilla And Dipladenia

Both Mandevilla and Dipladenia are gorgeous planted together, as solo plants or as the central focus of a large container garden. Placed centrally in a large pot with an obelisk or trellis to climb, Mandevilla makes the perfect contrast for a wide variety of foliage plants such as coleus, oregano, petunias or even elephant ear plant, which is another good plant for the patio.

How to plant a Mandevilla vine in a patio planter to enjoy all summer.

  • Add a dazzling splash of color to your landscape with Mandevilla vines trailing over your arbor, pergola or trellis.
  • Add these cheery, vigorous plants to your entryway, patio or deck in attractive containers.
  • Dress up your mailbox with an attractive garden of Dipladenia and Mandevilla and really make your home’s curb appeal pop.

How to Plant Around a Mailbox

  • Use cuttings from your own plants to add lush, luxuriant hanging baskets overflowing with vast billows of fragrant flowers and glossy leaves.

In terms of performance in the landscape, Dipladenia and Mandevilla can’t be beat. Larger varieties of Mandevilla can grow as much as twenty feet in a single growing season. You can count on having your trellis or arbor luxuriously covered in the blink of an eye.

Propagating Mandevilla And Dipladenia Is Easy

There are three ways to propagate these vigorous plants:

#1 – Purchase And Plant Seeds Or Gather Your Own Seeds

If you purchase seeds, they are most likely hybrids. For this reason, if you collect your own seeds from the parent plants, the offspring may be quite different from the parents; however, this is not always a bad thing.

No matter how you get your seeds, early spring is the best time to sow them indoors. Use small pots and moist seed starting mix and cover the seeds lightly.

Place the seed pots in a bright, sunny place (or under a grow-lamp) and lay a sheet of plastic wrap over them. Keep them at a steady temperature of around 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Your seeds should sprout within a week-to-ten days.

Care for them as you would any seedling indoors through the early spring and you should have some jaunty young plants by late May or early June. Harden them off gradually and transition them to outdoors.

It’s easy to buy Mandevilla seeds online like these from Amazon – 100 Rainbow Mandevilla Seeds and Beautiful Flower Seeds

#2 – Take Cuttings From Mature Plants And Root Them

When pruning plants back before winter, select some likely cuttings for rooting. Good candidates should be 3-5 inches long with a couple of leaf nodes on the stem.

To root, remove the lower leaves from the stem and dust the stem with rooting powder. Next, poke the end of the stem into a good, light, well-draining soil (as described above).

Moisten the soil lightly and drape plastic wrap over plantlet or place the pot with cutting inside a clear plastic bag to act as a greenhouse. Place your cuttings in a warm (77 degrees Fahrenheit) place with bright, indirect light. Be sure to lift the plastic or open the bag for a little while every day to provide good ventilation and prevent mold growth.

#3 – Layer Tendrils From Growing Plants Into Pots And Planters For Rooting

This is a very natural and carefree way to propagate Mandevilla. To do this, simply set a pot full of properly prepared potting soil next to a mature plant during the growing season.

Guide a tendril of the parent plant to make contact with the surface of the potting soil in such a way that a leaf node touches the soil.

Press the tendril into place and cover the leaf node area with soil. Leave the tip of the tendril exposed to the air. Anchor the tendril in place with a bent piece of wire or a stone.

Take care of this setup just as you would a potted plant. Keep the potting soil evenly moist. Within a week you should see roots forming at the leaf node.

Let the new plant establish itself for a couple of weeks. Once it has set down good, strong roots simply cut its “umbilical cord” and separate it from the parent plant. You should have a sturdy, vigorous new potted plant ready to enjoy.

Add Color And Opulence To Your Home And Garden

Mandevilla and Dipladenia are easy to grow and provide a dramatic and satisfying showing of gorgeous flowers throughout your growing season. These enthusiastic, cheery plants like lots of light and warmth, nourishing, well-drained soil and simple, consistent care and watering.

Whether you grow them outdoors as an annual or enjoy the many gardening challenges and activities they provide you year-round as houseplants or propagation projects, you are sure to enjoy these exotic, luxuriant tropical plants.

Family: Apocynaceae

sources: 1 | 2 | 3

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