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What is Mandevilla?

Tricia Christensen
Updated Jun 04, 2024
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Mandevilla is vine and a climbing plant that prospers best outdoors in warm climates. There are a number of different mandevilla varieties that may exhibit stunning trumpet-like flowers in pink, white, or yellow. Henry Mandeville, a British diplomat with a penchant for gardening, was honored with the mandevilla vine being named after him.

Mandeville likely discovered the mandevilla when he was serving diplomatic missions in Argentina. Horticulturalists suggest the vines were first grown in South America, and often suggest Brazil as their mother country.

In colder climates the mandevilla is often not grown into trained vines, but instead makes an attractive houseplant. Frosts tend to reduce the plant to bare roots, so most gardeners in colder areas may keep the mandevilla outside in pots, during warmer weather, and then bring it indoors to weather the winter months.

When grown in warmer climates, the mandevilla can be impressively tall, reaching heights over 10 feet (3.04m). Some cross-species may produce vines twice as high. The leaves are described as somewhat dimpled and dark green, and are evergreens in warm climates. They can also boast widths of four inches (10.16cm).

The flowers of the mandevilla tend to bloom in waves throughout the summer, and may bloom more throughout the year in tropical climates. Unopened flowers appear thin and pointed. When the blooms open, they have a deep gold center, and the flowers may equal the width of the leaves. A few varieties of mandevilla produce scented flowers.

Mandevilla prospers well in the US in areas like Florida, the Deep South, and in Southern California. If left outside in colder areas, such as Northern California, it tends to die back each year. All is not lost, however. With spring, the plant will usually begin to sprout again.

As a houseplant, mandevilla will stay green throughout the year. Improper lighting may mean failure to produce the lovely blossoms. Thus a mandevilla benefits from direct light. In a properly constructed greenhouse, the plant is likely to produce the most flowers, and thus can be enjoyed by gardeners who live in colder climates. Efforts are also being made to produce a more winter-hardy variant.

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Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a All Things Nature contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By anon87294 — On May 29, 2010

can cuttings be taken from the Mandevilla plants?

By anon35576 — On Jul 06, 2009

I have a mandevilla plant that was gorgeous last year. I brought it inside for the winter in Wisconsin. It looks incredibly healthy--- as far as leaves, but has absolutely no blooms or buds. I have it outside in the sun now, but I'm wondering if it will come back and bloom again? Is there anything I can do to nurse it into blooming?

By cjhmarch47 — On Jun 17, 2009

I have three mandevillas. Two were purchased a month ago--one red and one is white. Then I purchased a pink one. The leaves on the pink one are shaped differently. I thought mandevilla liked full sun and that is what I did with mine. The red and white are looking "puny" compared with the pink one with the larger leaves.

Today I saw some in the store (red) and noticed it said "part sun." Are there different kinds of mandevillas that have different sun requirements?

By nsearnest — On Apr 16, 2009

I live in central PA. I have had my Mandvilla for three seasons. I brought it in 2 years ago and put it in my family room by a sliding glass door. It went dormant. About Christmas time I noticed some buds coming out. I applied a little fertilizer and started watering. Even the purple petunias came back from the base. It was gorgeous.

Last year I cut it down, brought it in, put it in my laundry room, it is cooler there. I cut off all dead wood and started watering it. It is really growing and making a lot of new stems. The purple petunias are also coming back. I water it daily in the summer and add a little 5-10-5 now and then. Sandy

By anon21412 — On Nov 16, 2008

I have the mandevilla vine indoors now. it is blooming. I keep the door shut because I am not certain if the leaves are non toxic to cats. Does anyone know the answer?

By jcomfort — On Jul 26, 2007

when wintering a mandevilla plant - should it be cut back from outdoor summer growth?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a All Things Nature contributor, Tricia...
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