Mandevilla is a genus of flowering perennial vines that were once known as Dipladenia. This name is now considered incorrect by botanists, but is still sometimes used as a synonym for mandevilla. Well-known for its attractive flowers, foliage and stems, the mandevilla plant is a popular climbing garden plant throughout the United States.
Mandevilla is beloved for its showy white, yellow, pink or red flowers that appear in spring, summer and fall. The trumpet-shaped blossoms typically have white or gold throats and can reach up to 4 inches in width. Mandevilla flowers are borne on fuzzy, twining stems that also support attractive evergreen foliage throughout the year. The dark-green leaves have a glossy, leathery appearance and can reach up to 8 inches in length. The entire mandevilla plant can grow up to 20 feet in height, depending on the species.
The mandevilla plant is most popular for growing on trellises, fences, screens, posts, lattice, porches or anywhere else it can climb. The vine also performs well in containers, however, and can be grown in pots to overwinter indoors in cooler climates. Some gardeners prefer to grow mandevilla as a houseplant, where it will flourish when given the proper environmental conditions.
There are three primary types or species of the mandevilla plant, all of which vary slightly in appearance. Mandevilla 'Alice du Pont' is a woody evergreen popular for growing in hanging baskets with pink flowers that appear in spring through fall. Mandevilla 'Laxa,' also known as Chilean Jasmine, is a woody deciduous vine with fragrant white flowers that appear on new growth. Mandevilla 'Splendens' is also evergreen with pale pink flowers that darken into a deep rose color with age.
In addition to the three species of the mandevilla plant, there are also three different cultivars available. These include 'Red Riding Hood,' which boasts dark red flowers, 'Summer Snow,' which produces sparkly white flowers, and the cultivar known simply as 'Yellow' for its bright yellow flowers. Yellow mandevilla has a more compact, shrubby growth habit than other types and is commonly grown in containers and hanging baskets.
Mandevilla is native to the Central and South American tropics, which explains the plant's need for warm temperatures. It is grown as a garden plant in tropical areas around the world and enjoyed as a container plant in temperate regions. In the United States, the mandevilla plant is winter hardy in zones 9 through 11 only, which means it must be overwintered indoors or grown as a houseplant in most of the country.
When grown indoors, mandevilla plants need indirect sunlight, temperatures of between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, weekly waterings and bi-monthly feedings with a 10-20-10 NPK fertilizer. When grown outdoors, full sun to partial shade, well-drained soil, weekly waterings and a trellis for support are required. In hardiness zones 8 or above, mandevilla must be brought indoors before temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit or allowed to die back in the garden. Pruning is necessary in early spring to remove damaged or crowded stems before new growth begins.