If you're a gardener who suffers from "vinophobe - a morbid fear of vines" like Florida Girl at her "Peace in the Valley" blog*, then Mandevilla could be the vine for you. In central Florida this beauty is a well-behaved vine that doesn't insist on taking over the garden or even a trellis. Its glossy leaves and trumpet shaped flowers are most commonly found in red, pink and white. I, too, must confess that I am timid when it comes to planting vines due to their aggressive nature, so Mandevilla is the one I turn to often.
It's perfect for arbors, trellises, containers, obelisks, and even around mailboxes. It roots easily from cuttings. and requires minimal care. When rooting cuttings, cover the stems with a rooting hormone powder for quicker results. While tropical to sub-tropical in nature, temperatures below freezing will damage the vine, but it returns easily from the ground in spring. It is a member of the dogbane family, Apocynaceae, and will ooze a milky sap when cut which is toxic.
The pink Mandevilla pictured above has been growing on this arbor since summer of 2012,
and did not freeze back during the winter. You can see it's mannerly growth habit.
Light: Full sun for non-stop summer blooms. Will tolerate partial sun, especially later afternoon.
Care: Plant anytime except winter. Add compost when planting. Fertilize annually with compost or 10-10-10.
Wildlife: Butterfly/hummingbird favorite. It is a host plant for Gulf fritillary caterpillars who can cause substantial damage to the plant in spring, especially if it's just beginning to grow back following a freeze. I generally, leave them on or move a few to other plants, as the vine will make a strong comeback during summer.
The red Parasol Sun Mandevilla (pictured at left) is my personal favorite planted poolside because of its vibrant color and tropical look.
It's very eye-catching and when planted among green and gold foliage plants, it's a real standout.
I highly recommend this Florida-Friendly vine which has so many uses, especially in a small Florida garden.
*And, back to Florida Girl at her "Peace in the Valley" blog which is very entertaining and educational even though she sadly stopped blogging back in 2012, and has since moved to Facebook where you can still enjoy her stunning photos and her eclectic garden. You can find her here: https://www.facebook.com/floridagirl.peace?fref=ts. By the way, that term "vinophobe" was coined by FloridaGirl. That shows you a bit of her humor!