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David Trinklein
University of Missouri
Plant Science & Technology
(573) 882-9631

Marvelous Mandevillas for Mid-Summer Color

David Trinklein
University of Missouri
(573) 882-9631

July 5,2024

minute read

pink flowers

(Credit: Pixaby)

Combining bold color, tropical beauty, and the ability to tolerate heat and humidity, mandevillas make excellent summer additions to patios, decks, and gardens. Whether trained onto a trellis, allowed to cascade from a hanging basket, or combined with other plants, they seem to enjoy the stifling heat of a typical Midwest summer. As an added benefit, their blossoms attract butterflies, hummingbirds, and other pollinators to the landscape.

pink flower with yellow center

With large, funnel-shaped flowers, mandevillas are an attractive addition to any landscape. Pictured is 'Alice du Pont,' whose flowers approach four inches in diameter. (Credit: Pixabay)

Recently, there has been a considerable amount of confusion surrounding the difference between Mandevilla and Dipladenia, its close relative. Originally divided by botanists into two different genera in the Apocynaceae plant family, both are now classified as Mandevilla spp. In commerce, however, gardeners often find both names still in use, with dipladenia referring to those with a more mounded, shrub-like habit and mandevilla being more of a trailing vine. Whatever they are called, gardeners are sure to find one or more that complement their garden and container designs.

Flowers come in a variety of colors, including white, pink, yellow, and red. Many hybrids have been developed, mainly being derived from Mandevilla x amabilis, M. splendens, and M. sanderi. The hybrid cultivar Mandevilla x amabilis 'Alice du Pont' was one of the first mandevillas released to the gardening public and remains very popular. It produces medium-pink flowers up to four inches wide and two inches long and was the recipient of the very prestigious Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

white flower with yellow center

Elegant, white-flowered mandevillas are thought to have been derived from crosses of Mandevilla boliviensis, a species native to warmer areas of Central and South America. (Credit: Pixabay)

Members of the Sun Parasol® series combine a bushy, vigorous habit with the widest color range available in mandevilla today. Colors include softly variegated blossom patterns such as Stars & Stripes® and 'Cream Pink,' deep crimson reds, rose pinks, whites and 'Sunbeam,' the first yellow mandevilla.

Mandevillas flower best when located in full sun but will tolerate some shade. Native to Central and South America, they thrive in the hot, humid weather of summer. Because of their affinity for hot weather, it is advisable to wait for spring temperatures to remain in the 60s before planting them outdoors.

yellow flower

Although mandevilllas are considered full-sun plants, they can tolerate a bit of shade. Pictured is Diamantina™ Opal Yellow. (Credit: Proven Winners)

While many gardeners grow mandevillas in containers, they may be planted into the soil. For the latter, select a well-drained soil rich in organic matter. Since mandevillas flower on new growth, it is important to keep the plants growing vigorously. Use a slow-release fertilizer at the start of the season and make a second application, if needed mid-season. Alternatively, a water soluble fertilizer can be used according to label directions.

As container plants, mandevillas are well-behaved and normally do not overwhelm nearby plants. However, they do need a a trellis or something similar for their vines to wrap around and climb. Their slightly woody stems provide greater stability than other vines that regularly need to be secured to the support. Simply tuck any new growth through the trellis, pointing it in the desired direction.

red flowers

Shorter-statured mandevillas (previously classified as Diplodenia) look very attractive when allowed to trail over a container. (Credit: Pixabay)

The more compact shrubby (diplodenia) types are attractive when planted with other annual flowers in the garden, grown in hanging baskets, or used as a filler in mixed container gardens. Prune off or tuck any wayward branches behind neighboring plants.

Credit: Adapted from an article published by the National Garden Bureau.

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REVISED: July 5, 2024