How Does Your Garden Grow?: Continual blooms of mandevilla vine add garden splendor

Mandevilla is a tropical flowering vine that is native to the southwestern states of the U.S., central and south America and originates from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

It is a genus of tropical vines that belong to the family Apocynaceae. The genus was named after Henry Mandeville (a British diplomat and gardener) in 1840. A common name is Rock trumpet. The mandevilla is often referred to as an annual, when in fact, it is a frost tender perennial. In warmer climates, it grows and blooms year-round.

Mandevilla’s beautiful trumpet-shaped flowers come in a variety of colors including pink, white, yellow and red with 3- to 4-inch blooms against glossy leaves. The rapid trailing vines that continually bloom are what make the mandevilla a spectacular addition to any garden.

What’s to love about a mandevilla?

Sheer beauty

When you purchase a mandevilla vine, it will most likely be attached to its own small trellis. You can keep it secured as is and plant it directly into the ground or place it in a large container. Its flowering vines will require some additional support to grow to their full magnificence. You can achieve this by placing them under an obelisk, trellis, arch or pergola. The vines will trail into an abundance of flowering, tropical splendor.

Ease of care

The low maintenance mandevilla prefers well-drained soil. You can simply achieve this by placing peat moss or airy potting soil in the hole along with a bit of sand. It thrives in bright, indirect light. Full sun is fine as long as it is morning sun. Afternoon sun should be indirect. Like most flowering plants, it flourishes with fertilizer that has a high phosphorus content. Choose one that has a high second number such as Bloom Booster (10-52-10). Fertilize every two weeks for continuous blooms. Unlike many flowering plants, the mandevilla does not require constant deadheading. The blooms will drop on their own, and the plant will continue to flower from spring through fall. You can choose to pinch new growth to produce additional vines and thicken the plant; however, there is no requirement to do so.

Hummingbirds love them

One of the best features of the mandevilla is that it attracts hummingbirds to the garden. Relax on your patio on a hot summer afternoon and watch the hummingbirds sip away at the flower’s nectar.

Can be over-wintered

You can keep your mandevilla year-round by over-wintering it in your home. Once outside temps are 50 degrees or below, place it in a pot and cut it back to the main stems on the original trellis. Keep in a cool (55 to 65 degrees) sun-lit room. Provide just enough water to keep it alive and do not fertilize. Once the spring temperatures reach above 50 degrees at night, clean off any dead foliage and return it to your garden to enjoy for another season.

Whether you are an experienced gardener or just beginning, the mandevilla plant is an excellent choice to add splendor to your garden.

• Gardening questions for the Help Desk can be emailed to uiemg-dekalb@illinois.edu.