Mandevilla flowers come in a variety of colors.
image by miggell1/Flickr.com
Mandevilla is a genus of subtropical and tropical flowering vines that consists of more than 100 different species. The plants are native to Central and South America, and cannot tolerate cold temperatures. For this reason, mandevilla plants are almost exclusively grown as indoor container plants, although they can be placed outdoors during warmer months. Mandevilla blooms in summer, and produces large, fragrant flowers in colors of white, yellow, pink or red.
Plant mandevilla in soilless potting mix and place in a warm location that receives bright, indirect sunlight for most of the day. Keep the temperature around the plant between 60 and 65 degrees during the night and above 70 degrees during the day.
Water mandevilla plants regularly to keep the soil evenly moist but not wet or soggy. Do not allow the soil to dry out in between waterings. Reduce watering in winter to once or twice per week, as the plant cannot tolerate "wet feet," and will need less water when the temperatures are cooler.
Feed mandevillas every two weeks during the spring and summer months using a high phosphorus fertilizer such as 10-20-10 NPK or similar. Use according to the manufacturer's instructions for proper dosage, and water thoroughly after application. Do not fertilize in the winter months.
Prune mandevilla in late winter or early spring before new growth emerges. Use pruning shears to remove old, damaged or crowded stems. This will promote bushy growth and more prolific blooming. You almost can't go too far with pruning, as mandevilla will bloom the same season even if it's pruned to within inches of the soil line.
Examine mandevilla plants carefully before bringing indoors after a long stay outside. Look under leaves and in the axils for any sign of pests. Remove dead, dying or diseased leaves by hand. Spray with a forceful stream of water to dislodge any insects if necessary, or use insecticidal soap according to the manufacturer's directions.