Mandevillas – a resurgence of popularity

by Rock Giguère

I find that mandevillas, also known as dipladenias, are among the most beautiful exotic climbing plants for outdoor gardening. They offer us spectacular trumpet-shaped flowers, in shades of red, pink, white and now apricot. They are second to none to create a tropical look in our yard. I pay tribute to the innovations generated by modern hybridization that has brought new habits, new flowering colors, new uses and … new followers.

The sale of mandevillas is increasing as much in America as in Europe, which proves that my interest for this plant is shared by several people. In addition, the new generation is enjoying their prolific and spectacular flowering.

That’s why, I think this versatile plant’s craze is here to stay.

An easy plant to cultivate

Once well established in its growing medium, a suspended basket, in a pot or in the ground, at the foot of an arch or a trellis, the selections of this magnificent climbing or drooping plant require little care and are extremely resistant to heat and drought. In addition, the mandevilla isn’t part of the deer or hare’s diet. This exotic plant is suitable for small spaces, like a balcony, as well as for large spaces.

These plants do not like to have their feet in the water. If you see its leaves turn yellow, you’re treating it much too well with a surplus of watering. Also, those who have difficulty maintaining regular watering will be very happy. Finally, a plant that performs well despite a three-day weekend at the cottage or traveling.

Most selections are vigorous. As it loves heat, it should be placed in a windless place that holds in the heat. By removing the wilted flowers, if they do not disappear by themselves (self-cleaning flowering), we ensure a long flowering cycle and a good free-flowering habit. The plants grown in the ground do not require fertilization to have a good performance, unlike those in pots. A slow-release organic fertilizer can be placed on the planting or a regular water-soluble natural fertilizer can be applied regularly.

Selections

There is a mandevilla for everyone and for every place. Just choose your shape and size. This climbing bush native to South America has been the subject of a significant hybridization in recent years, mainly by the Japanese company Suntory.

For a long time, the pink color was predominant. Everyone remembers the famous ‘Alice Dupont’. It seems that people’s favorite colors today are bright red and carmine red. It is the Sun Parasol series that offers the widest range of colors: pure white with rich crimson red and recently an apricot hue.

There are two main categories: climbing habits and mound habits.

The climbing habit selections wind their new rods on their support in a clockwise fashion. You can have them climb horizontally or spread vertically. Traditional mandevillas and new selections belong to this category.

Today, the market also presents mandevillas which form a kind of mound. These selections do not need support to be grown. These bushy ports are excellent choices for hanging pots and flower boxes.