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Mandevilla Growing Tips

Mandevilla is a sun-lover, scrambling upward by way of tendrils, so you donít have to bother yourself with the tedious chore of tying the climbing shoots. Just provide a convenient trellis, arbor, fencepost or other structure and the plant will do the rest.

If you have an eyesore on your property (garbage cans, utility area, the view of your neighborís garage) that needs screening, all the better. In the absence of rain, water the plant when the soil appears dry, and feed it periodically throughout the blooming season. Remember the general rule: anything that blooms heavily tends to feed heavily.

When fall comes, you do not have to bid your Mandevilla farewell. Cut it back, pot it up (if itís not already in a pot), and take it inside. Place it in a south-facing window, or the sunniest spot in your house, and water regularly. There is no need to fertilize until it goes out again in the spring. As with most outdoor plants that overwinter indoors, the Mandevilla will grow slowly and probably not blossom. Thatís all right, you will have Amaryllis and African violets and kalanchoes for that. The glossy green leaves should remain to remind you of the glories of the summer blossoms.

Known for its showy 3-5" flowers, the genus Mandevilla includes plants that were formerly called Dipladenia. There are about 100 species of tropical, flowering vines belonging to the Periwinkle family, Apocynaceae. These plants are natives of Argentina. The vines can climb to over 20 feet by means of curling tendrils on a trellis or pole. They have glossy dark green  leaves.

Most species overwinter only in the tropical South where temperatures stay above freezing. In northern locations they can be treated as annuals or grown indoors. They can be brought indoors before the first freeze and treated as a houseplant during the winter months. In the spring, Mandevilla can be returned outside after the last spring freeze or after the threat of freezing weather has passed. Mandevilla is great trellised in containers or in hanging baskets.

Varieties of Mandevilla

Mandevilla 'Red Velvet'-Large 5" Red flowers, a patented variety from Lake Area Nursery in 2001.

Mandevilla 'Red Velvet Petite'-Smaller 3-4" red flowers, a patented variety from Lake Area Nursery in 2002

Mandevilla 'Tropical Dreams' - 3" yellow flowers with variegated leaves, patented by Lake Area Nursery in 1998.

Mandevilla 'Pink Velvet' -  4-5" pink flowers similar in color to Alice DuPont, but Pink Velvet has a tighter flower and a ruffled edge on the bloom. Patented by Lake Area Nursery in 2004.

Mandevilla 'Cotton Candy' - 4" soft pink flowers with glossy green leaves. Patented in 2005. It is included in Ball Seed Company's continental plant collection.

Mandevilla 'White Velvet' - Large 5-6" white flowers, a patented variety from Lake Area Nursery in 2007.

Mandevilla splendens variety 'Alice DuPont' -Large 4-5" Pink flowers. Not patented.

Mandevilla boliviensis-3-4" white flowers with yellow center. Not patented.

Dipladenia 'Red Ridinghood' -3" Hot pink trumpet shaped flowers. Not patented.

Potting and Fertilization

Peat-lite potting mixes seem to be the best. Liners should be placed in the pot about 2" apart with the planting media coming to within 1/2 inch of the rim of the pot. Two or 4 liners per 10" basket or pot (2-3 gallon) will make a full, symmetrical plant. Some growers prefer to use 6" pots or 1 gallon size, in this case one or two liners is sufficient. Plants will need a steak or trellis in the pot to climb.

Use a medium rate of Osmocote such as 18-6-12 or 14-14-14 or a soluble fertilizer such as 20-20-20 at a rate of 200 to 300 PPM on a weekly basis. Another grower uses 20-20-20 at 200 PPM every watering. If the foliage turns light green, increase fertilization.

Light & Temperature

Dipladenia and Mandevilla have no appreciable response to change in photoperiod. These plants grow as well in January as in June providing all other things are equal. In Florida plants will flower sooner and with less stem growth during April - September, producing a more compact plant. Plants grow and flower best under full sun but will grow under light shade. Flowering usually occurs from about April through November (or first frost/freeze) Flowering dates are determined by your last pinching date. Most growers grow Mandevilla to bloom and sell from about April through September. This depends on the area of the country you are selling in. 

The difference in time is due to the variety and/or the time of year, faster growth during summer with higher temperature and light. Studies have shown that these plants grows best at temperatures between 60 F and 85 F and can maintain itself at night temperatures of 55 F without damage to foliage or decrease in growth rate. 

At temperatures below 35 F foliage will be severely damaged, but plants may re-sprout from the wood if freezing temperatures are not too severe to cause permanent damage to the wood and stems. Remember, these are TROPICAL PLANTS.

Pinching and Flowering

After liners have been potted and new growth occurs, a pinch should be carried out leaving 3-4 nodes. Approximately 3-4 weeks later a second soft pinch may be carried out, providing branches have grown to a length of 2"-3". The pinch should be performed to shape the plant and increase branching. The number of pinches depends on the size pot and number of plants per pot.  

Flowering will begin in 2-3 months after the last pinch. Small buds appear at about 2 months from pinching but open blooms will take approximately 1 more month to open. Mandevilla blooms the fastest after pinching during July-August summer period. During this time, you may see open blooms after only 2 months from pinching.

Mandevilla Disease Control