A member of the dogbane family, the mandevilla plant, hails from South and Central America. There are over 120 members of this genus.
It produces vines and fast-growing, beautiful flowers in an array of shades of white, pink, yellow, and mandevilla red. The vines can reach 10-20′ feet in length.
This tropical plant thrives in warm climates and yields shiny, deep green, oval leaves. Its flowers are large and shaped like a trumpet.
In the U.S. the flowers bloom continuously and in abundance from May through October. The flowers grow in a short time as long as the plant is well maintained.
The Mandevilla Plant
Mandevilla grows well in containers or hanging pots. It makes an excellent arrangement on a balcony, entryway, patio, or deck.
This well-behaved, low-maintenance plant attracts hummingbirds to your garden. Talk about a perfect excuse to go chill on your patio on a lazy summer afternoon.
Sip your cold lemonade as you watch the hummingbirds enjoy the glory of your new plant. If you want to know how to grow a healthy, beautiful mandevilla plant then follow the below tips and requirements. You’ll have hummingbirds and gorgeous blooms in your garden in no time.
Mandevilla vines thrive when you give them a good balance of bright, indirect light, and shade. Avoid exposing them to an abundance of direct sunlight. Doing so will cause the plant to become scorched.
Make sure that your mandevilla plant gets plenty of light to help it thrive. But not so much that it gets scorched. It still needs the benefit of shade.
On the other hand, putting them in an area where there is too much shade will stifle your vine. It will stunt its growth and keep flowers from blooming.
Ideally, your mandevilla vine should be placed in an area where it can receive plenty of morning sun while still getting an ample amount of shade. This positioning will guard it against the strong afternoon sun.
Further, protect your precious plant by tying it down to prevent strong winds from moving and damaging it. Also, take into consideration your local climate.
When placed outdoors in a cooler climate, the mandevilla likes full sun. However, it needs to be placed in an area with partial shade in locations that experience very hot weather.
Yet, if you will be keeping your mandevilla indoors, you will need to give it bright light – either direct or indirect sunlight. Regardless of whether you have your plant indoors or outdoors, during the heat of summer, this plant does best with some afternoon shade.
This lovely plant enjoys a warm climate. Put it in an area with temperatures between 60-80° F and it will be happy.
But when outside temperatures start heading south of 50° F, your mandevilla’s smile will turn upside down. Since it can’t survive overnight temperatures of 40° F, you will need to place it indoors when the weather turns cold.
Bring your plant inside to protect it from the elements once the temperatures start going south of 50° F. Fallbrook Garden by cultivar413 / CC by 2.0
Normal home temperatures will be fine for your heat-loving friend. Once temperatures start rising again and hit above 50° F you can move your plant back outside again.
Your mandevilla vine can handle humidity as well as it can handle the heat. Give it moderate to high humidity and it will be in hog heaven.
Keep it from drying out by spraying your vine with a light misting of water when it’s inside your home. Or you can use an electric humidifier to keep the air well hydrated. Its leaves will absorb the moisture in the air so the plant won’t dry out.
Your mandevilla vine doesn’t go directly into the ground. You must pot it in a portable container, such as a hanging basket or a pot.
Since the plant doesn’t like the cold temperature that the winter brings, you will have to carry it inside where it can stay nice and warm. Repotting will typically occur when you bring it home from the nursery or garden center.
You want to be mindful of the size of your container. It’s best to pick one that provides a little extra space around the edges. You’ll need to put it in a pot that’s bigger than the current one it’s in.
However, you don’t want to go too big or deep. If you select a container that provides the roots of the plant too much space to grow your plant will focus on growing roots instead of pretty flowers. This will result in poor flower growth.
Place your mandevilla in a pot that is appropriately sized. It needs to allow some room for growth so the roots will be able to spread. Mandevilla By Kent Wang / CC by 2.0
Yet, you still want to allow the plant’s roots some extra space to spread. Don’t be too stingy on the pot’s size. The vines grow quickly so the plant will need to be repotted every year or two. The best time to do this is in the spring.
Opt for a new pot that’s about an inch or so bigger in diameter than the pot it’s currently growing in. Use fresh soil to pad the edges.
Move the plant from the old pot to the new one. Encourage the roots to grow in their new pot by gently rubbing them between your fingers.
While you’re putting your fingers to work, now would be an excellent time to remove any dead flowers, leaves, or stems from your plant. Doing this will prompt your plant to direct its energy toward everything that’s growing instead of toward damaged areas.
When it comes to repotting, you want to make sure that you take care of one of the most important parts of mandevilla care – the soil.
Giving consideration to the soil you use is key to laying a good foundation for your mandevilla vine to grow into a beautiful plant with stunning blossoms. This holds true whether you decide to grow your plant in a container pot or a hanging basket.
A compost-based soil such as the one you see above is a good option to use for supporting the growth of healthy mandevilla plants.
The soil you choose for your vine can make or break your plant. If you want a productive vine that is full and lush, you must place it in loose, well-draining soil.
A good potting soil is compost-based or peat moss. You can benefit from adding sand to help improve aeration.
And another thing – line the bottom of the pot with broken pot shards, coarse gravel, or styrofoam packing peanuts to give the plant better drainage.
The mandevilla plant can go without being consistently moist. It doesn’t like living in a soggy mess. This means you will need to give the potting mix a chance to almost dry between watering sessions.
Give your plant a slow, steady trickle of water each week. The mandevilla plant does not like to stand in water and will develop root rot if not properly drained.
Although you will need to soak the potting mix thoroughly, you don’t want your plant to stand in water due to root rot. Prevent this unpleasant scenario by ensuring your plant has good drainage.
If at any point it appears that your beloved vine is in distress, adjust your watering schedule to meet its needs. An outside plant will benefit from having its leaves cleaned with a hose as it’s being watered.
Make sure to water your mandevilla on a regular basis to keep it healthy. Get the hose out and spray the leaves to get the pests, dust, and debris off your plant while you’re watering it.
Doing so will remove any dust, debris, or pests on the leaves. Avoid hitting the leaves with a strong force of water. You want to use a light shower or drizzle function instead so you don’t harm the flowers.
Whether your plant is inside or outside, you can’t afford to neglect it. So make sure you water your mandevilla weekly. You want to keep the soil moist.
When the water starts draining from the container pot you know that you’re giving it enough water. Slow down on how much you water during the winter as the growth of the plant slows down.
You will need to let the soil dry out more between waterings. It shouldn’t take longer than about 30 seconds for the water to soak the plant’s soil.
If it does take longer, then you may need to repot your plant. Having sand or perlite in the soil will assist with draining. Make sure that the plant containers you use have good drainage holes.
Doing so will prevent overwatering. However, if you notice that the foliage is turning yellow it could be a sign that you are overwatering your plant. Giving it too much water will flood the roots.
This will result in the roots not being able to absorb water or nutrients. Another issue to consider is poor drainage. This problem occurs when the soil can’t effectively drain.
Avoid overwatering your plant by making sure that you have drainage holes at the bottom such as you see in the above picture. Plastic pot by Francis Chung / CC by 2.0
When the roots become saturated after sitting in wet soil they will be unable to absorb water and nutrients. Root rot will be just around the corner waiting to kill the plant.
That’s why it’s so important to address yellow leaves as soon as you spot them to give your mandevilla a chance to survive and thrive. Another cause of yellow leaves could be nutrient-deficiency.
If your fertilizer isn’t doing its job or is being misapplied, your plant could be missing key nutrients. To figure out which nutrients it’s lacking you need to pay attention to the way the leaves turn yellow.
Have the younger leaves turned yellow first? If they have, this points to the plant being low in iron. Have the older leaves turned yellow first? This can point to a lack of nitrogen, zinc, or manganese.
When you can pinpoint the specific nutrient that is missing, you can choose a fertilizer that’s better equipped to deal with this problem. Choosing the right soil plays a huge role in whether your plant will be healthy or not. It’s very important that you feed your mandevilla the right food at the right time.
Your growing mandevilla beauty will need a good diet to develop into a healthy plant. Make this happen by feeding it fertilizer during its growing period.
Doing this will help ensure the abundant growth of flowers. Bear in mind that when you bring your baby mandevilla home from the nursery or garden center, it will already have a slow-releasing fertilizer mixed into the soil.
Use an effective fertilizer after the plant reaches 6-12 months old. Doing so will help your plant remain in good condition so your blooms will be hardy and beautiful. Photo of fertilizer by Linda Barkovsky / CC by 2.0
This means that usually, you won’t have to feed it fertilizer for roughly three months. During this time, do not add more fertilizer to the vine. Doing so will cause fertilizer burn.
You don’t want to burn the root system. Once the three months have passed, you can start to feed your plant weekly.
You may need to feed it bi-weekly during times of heavy growth. A slow-release or water-soluble fertilizer that delivers a healthy dose of phosphorus (e.g., 10-20-10) should be used after the plant reaches 6 to 12-months old.
Regularly keep your eyes on how your plant responds to the fertilizer. Be prepared to adjust the type of fertilizer you use and your feeding schedule if you notice that your plant isn’t responding well to your feeding efforts.
Give your mandevilla vine a final, light feed with a water-soluble fertilizer that’s high in phosphorus (e.g., 10-56-14) at the end of the summer. Doing this will get your vine through the winter since it won’t feed again until the spring arrives.
Vines grow rapidly and will need to be pruned regularly to control the plant’s growth. You don’t have to worry about overdoing it. This plant actually likes an aggressive prune job.
The more you cut, the more it will grow and produce gorgeous, new flowers. So when your plant starts to look a bit unkempt or begins to overpower your other plants, don’t hesitate to jump in there with your pruning shears and have at it.
Prune your plant to remove dead flowers, stems, and leaves so it will grow more abundantly. Also, before bringing it in your home for the winter, prune back the plant to make it easier to transport and fit into your room.
However, if you love the look of a plant that appears to be spiraling out of control, then you don’t have to prune it. But when you bring it inside during the winter, you will definitely need to give it a good trim to make it easier to bring into your home.
When you break out those pruning shears, always don your protective gloves. Your skin can become irritated if it comes in contact with the milky sap contained in the leaves and stems of the mandevilla vine.
Feel free to cut the vine back as much as you need to so that it fits your space. Avoid being overly cautious with your pruning. Trimming your vine won’t harm it in any way.
Plus, it’s important to keep the vine at a size that you can maintain while it’s taking up space in your home during the winter months. It won’t grow much while it’s in your home.
However, once the spring arrives the following year, your vine will return to its former size when you place it outside again. Before you know it you’ll be staring at another round of marvelous blooms on your vibrant plant.
Mandevilla Vines and Pests
Maintaining the health of your mandevilla will require that you remain vigilant in safeguarding your plant from pests and diseases.
The most common mandevilla pests include
- scale insects
- red spider mites
- powdery mildew
You can get rid of aphids with a strong spray of water. Use neem oil or insecticidal soap as a follow-up treatment to ward off these tiny bugs.
Pests can present a huge problem to the health of your plant. To prevent this from happening, make sure you regularly inspect your plant for signs of bugs. Spray your mandevilla with water and neem oil if needed.
If scale insects and mealybugs are found on the underside of leaves, it’s a sign that the plant is thirsty. Fix this problem by correcting your watering and humidifying routines. Treat your plant with some neem oil insecticide spray.
Spider mites might be the source of your plant woes. They turn up when the temps have become too hot for your plant’s liking. If you notice webbing on the backs of the leaves, check for an infestation of these annoying creatures.
You can treat this problem with neem oil. Another trick is to simply relocate your plant to a spot that is cooler and more shaded.
Be sure to check your plant frequently to stay on top of pest control. A good look over every few days should suffice. If you notice any diseased leaves or stems cut them.
Remember to always sterilize your pruners with rubbing alcohol to remove any lingering traces of pests or diseases.
You’ve probably noticed that neem oil has been mentioned as a common remedy for a number of pest problems. It is a natural pesticide treatment.
People love using it because it’s effective at killing pests that can harm the mandevilla. Since it is natural it is completely safe to use. However, if it is ingested it becomes toxic.
For this reason, you should keep it out of the reach of cute, small hands. Here are some of the best neem oils you can try for your mandevilla vine.
Milania Organic Neem Oil
Milania Neem Oil is authentic, natural, and hexane free. It is 100% pure cold-pressed neem oil. Plus, it is 100% non-toxic.
Therefore, it is safer than commercial insecticides. Yet, it is still effective against insects. Moreover, it provides spray protection from mosquitoes, bed bugs and lice to protect your plants and garden.
Aromine Pure Cold Pressed Neem Oil
Aromine’s pure cold pressed neem oil is wonderful for plants and home gardening. This 100% neem oil has been cold pressed and is unfiltered as well as undiluted.
Some like that it also has a unique earthy scent. This natural organic insecticide controls aphids, mealybugs, plant scale, and more. It can be used as a soil drench as well.
Harris Neem Oil
Harris’ neem oil is 100% cold pressed and unrefined. This all natural gem has absolutely no chemicals or additives included. As a result, it has retained its original composition.
This oil works very well in the world of organic gardening. You’ll be able to ward off pesky insects and keep plants looking healthy with this oil. You can even use it to nourish hair, skin, and nails.
Mandevilla Vines and Diseases
In addition to putting up with pests, the mandevilla vine has to contend with diseases that can rob it of its vitality. These diseases can cause leaves to drop off the plant.
Moreover, they can reduce flowering and turn the foliage yellow. When fungi develop, it’s a sign that your plant finds conditions to be too moist or humid.
A lack of ventilation can also trigger the beginning of the development of powdery mildew on the plant. To stop the onset of diseases such as these, it’s important to make sure that the soil dries out between watering sessions.
Alter your watering schedule. Avoid water-logging your plant. Also, improve the plant’s air circulation by pruning the leaves. If you notice some leaves have turned yellow and dropped, it’s not a problem.
It’s a natural part of the growth cycle. However, if your plant starts losing a lot of leaves, take note that your plant may be too cold. If that is the case, you will need to move it inside. If it’s already inside, consider turning up the thermostat.
Keep your mandevilla in good health by warding off disease and insects. Maintain a regular watering schedule. Be prepared to move it inside when it gets too cold. Pinch its tips to encourage a bushier vine with full, beautiful blooms such as the ones you see above.
Overwintering Your Mandevilla
Although the mandevilla is a very hardy plant, that doesn’t mean it can be neglected. When the weather turns cold it will need to be relocated. If moving it to the warmest spot in your yard or deck won’t work, then take it inside.
However, before bringing it indoors, wash the leaves thoroughly with mild dish soap and rinse with water. Doing this will remove any unwanted insects.
You can also spray the leaves down with insecticidal soap. Next, you can prune the plant. Remove diseased portions of the plant and cut stems back 8-10 inches. Store it a place that can maintain a 55 to 60-degree temperature.
A basement, garage, or crawl space would work well. Water it every four weeks or so to keep it alive. Don’t fertilize your plant or worry about supplemental light.
It’s dormant so it’s not necessary. Once the vine sends up new shoots during the early spring, you will need to move the mandevilla vine to a sunny window.
Pinch the tips that are growing to encourage a bushier vine. Water it when the soil feels dry to the touch.
As the springtime nears, you’ll notice that the temperatures will rise consistently above the 50-degree mark. At this point, you can return your plant back to the garden after removing dead foliage.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.