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A classic tropical vine, mandevilla is a great way to add a splash of color to any vertical space in a garden. With big, showy blooms that continue all summer and the fact that the plant is low-maintenance makes it a top vine choice. Mandevilla vines (sometimes called diplodenia) have seen a resurgence in popularity and breeding work is being done to continue to expand the vine’s varieties.
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Flowering Vines for Color
Mandevillas are all about the blooms. Big, tropical blooms. Traditionally blooms come in shades of pink, red, and white and many shades in between. Now there's a new color added to the range, a beautiful apricot. The large five-petaled blooms often have a rich golden throat inside that adds to the tropical look. Flowers are born in clusters that will continue to grow and add more buds all the time. Be careful not to damage these growing points of the bloom clusters or new buds will not form on that stalk. The size of the blooms can vary quite a bit depending on the variety. In general, smaller flowers tend to be much more abundant, and the larger blooms are a little more sparse, but quite grand.
As far as care goes for these plants, they are low maintenance. Like most vigorous plants that bloom for long periods of time, they will benefit from a good dose of fertilizer every once in a while. While mandevilla is an annual vine, it can be overwintered. When planting, it's important to note that mandevilla is poisonous if ingested. Place the plant in a spot away from curious kids or pets. The milky sap it exudes when cut can also cause sensitivity in some people if it comes in contact with skin.
If the plants get a little too crazy for your liking, mandevilla can be pruned or trained. This can actually help to encourage more branching, and eventually, more blooms.
New Mandevilla Varieties
Initially, all mandevillas were climbing and vining plants. More recently, horticulturists and scientists have reined them in and shrunk them down. Many of the newer varieties are great options for hanging baskets and even spilling out of a container. Branching has also been improved, creating much bushier plants, and more blooming potential.
With all of the work to shrink these plants down in size, foliage can be quite variable between varieties. Older varieties tend to have much larger leaves that are a little rougher in texture and have more pronounced veins. The smaller, shrubbier types tend to have smaller leaves that are generally smooth and usually fairly glossy. The smaller leaves tend to showcase the blooms more.