When you need a vertical element in a container or on a trellis in the garden, Mandevilla can quickly stand up to the challenge. It is an easy care plant with either a bushy or vine-like habit depending on the species or cultivar selected.
One variety I grew this past summer is called Mini-Crimson by Sun Parasol™ (Sunmanderemi). It was in the bush category. But I have also used the vine-like Mandevillas. Tendrils reach out looking for places to twine upon, and mine twined around a tall Musa banana plant in the center of the container. Sometimes the tendrils looked like they were reaching for the sun. They have no eyes, but they sure can see!
The flowers of Mandevillas can grow to 2.5-3″ wide and are brilliant against the smooth, dark glossy green foliage of the plant. And I liked how the red blooms picked up the coloring streaks of the Musa banana with it. The ‘Mini’ series bloom one month earlier than other varieties (Crimson, Pink and White), so if you spot one early in the season – be sure to grab it!
The best aspect of Mandevillas, in my opinion, is their prolific flowering. They bloom non-stop from spring/summer to fall providing you can offer them a part sun to full sun location where they will thrive! I had another one that grew up a wrought iron trellis stand up to 9′ feet tall in one season!
It is important to be a ‘waterer’ type gardener because this plant does not care to dry out. I was sure to place mine near my hose so I could easily reach it during our hot summer months of 2010 because my Mini-Crimson was in a large container garden situated on a big tree stump. It was positioned just in the right spot so it could be seen from my nearby deck. The warmed colored blooms were visible from afar.
Mandevillas can also serve as sprawling shrubs. A tropical plant, they are hardy in zones 10-11 and die to the ground in warmer zones, behaving like perennials. But unfortunately, for our CT zones, we must move them inside to winter them over after cutting them back, or just use them as a house plant if it didn’t get too large for your house indoor space.
A couple of years back one of my nursery colleagues used Mandevillas in dark blue glazed pots and the red blooms growing above were extremely hot in this combination. Both colors called your attention immediately. It was a combination one could not easily forget.
This is a great plant to use if you need a vine in a hurry and can’t wait for other plants to serve the purpose. For example, one garden client wanted a quick viner because they were going to showcase their gardens in a show. They got one of these plants early in the year and we were happy with the results. Sometimes waiting for a perennial vine to reach a high enough status is not soon enough. So for a plant with a quick growth habit, showy appeal, and little disease problems, Mandevilla is a good choice. And of course, I spotted a Mandevilla yesterday at the flower show in Hartford at a vendor’s booth. It happened to be the Mini-Crimson. Like I said, I’m psychic! LOL….More fun today at the show when I return. Taking my camera along so I can share the other plants I saw of interest. Cathy T