Home > Great Big Greenhouse Blog > April 2014 > EASY, COLORFUL, BEAUTIFUL MANDEVILLA!


It is amazing how this tropical flowering vine from South America has become so very popular as an annual addition to our cool climate gardens.  Named for Sir Henry John Mandeville, a 19th century British diplomat stationed in Buenos Aires, Brazil, these beautiful vines are evergreen in their native habitat.  They are members of the Apocynaceae family which also includes allamanda, oleander, plumeria, the spiny Madagascar Palm, and flowering vinca.

One point of confusion is over the differences between mandevilla and dipladenia.  Dipladenia are the more compact varieties of mandevilla, tending to be shrubbier with smaller flowers, although dipladenia vines can reach 10 feet in length.

Species and cultivars of mandevilla include the large-flowered pink M. x amabilis ‘Alice du Pont’ which originated at Longwood Gardens.  Despite the proliferation of new hybrids, this remains one of the most beautiful and popular varieties. 

The species M. bolivensis grows to 12 feet, with yellow-throated white flowers and glossy green lance like leaves.  M. sanderi ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ is the most common dipladenia available, although hybridizers have been and are still producing new cultivars each season.  With the growing popularity of mandevilla, we now see large-flowered reds, pinks, whites, blushes, and bi-colors, as well as dainty-flowered reds, pinks, and whites.

While there is no yellow mandevilla, there are at least two look-a-likes from which to choose.  Commonly called “Yellow Mandevilla”, the Florida native Urichtes lutea is in the same plant family, has glossy small green leaves and produces small bright yellow flowers all summer.  Also mistaken for a mandevilla is the beautiful “Golden Allamanda Vine” (Allamanda cathartica) with wide yellow trumpets, one of my personal favorite tropical vines.

Mandevilla flower best in full sun, or in a sunny location that receives a little shade just in the middle of the day.  The vines attach by curling around any support, whether trellis, fence post, or nearby plant.  This plant can be grown in a hanging basket, but it will still attempt to climb onto anything within its reach.  

Provide even moisture with good drainage.  Fertilize regularly over the summer to keep lots of showy flowers coming.  Do not set mandevilla outside until night temperatures have stabilized above 55⁰F (they like it hot), and if you wish to keep the plant from year to year, be sure to bring it back inside before the first frost in the fall.  Mandevilla are messy inside, shedding leaves and growing long skinny vines, so keep the plant cut back and place it in the sunniest spot available for the winter.  And remember that new plants, as well as new cultivars will be available to enjoy each spring.

Posted: 4/30/2014 by Margot | with 0 comment(s)
Filed under: MargotGunn, TheGreatIndoors
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