GardenSMART :: 6 Reasons Mandevilla Will Make Your Yard Better This Summer
6 Reasons Mandevilla Will Make Your Yard Better This Summer
By Justin Hancock, Costa Farms horticulturist Photographs courtesy of Costa Farms
Mandevilla, a group of vines native to Central and South America, are a must-have addition for your yard if you’re looking for lots of interest without a lot of care. Traditionally, these were big, rather leggy vines with pink flowers, but today, plant breeders have brought us a wealth of choices. Here’s why mandevilla is a must-have plant for your summer garden.
1. Vining Varieties Add Vertical Interest
Vining (also called climbing) mandevilla varieties are ideal for adding vertical interest to your favorite outdoor spaces. They climb arbors, trellises, fences, and other structures, clothing it in their rich green foliage and colorful blooms. Add a few mandevilla to your deck, for example, to get instant privacy.
2. Mounding Varieties Thrive in Small Spaces
Newer mounding varieties don’t bother with climbing – they offer tidy little mounds packed with big color. Typically growing about 18 inches tall and wide, mounding varieties are ideal in garden beds and borders, as well as container gardens. And because their full, busy look is so attractive, they’re natural choices for hanging baskets and window boxes, too.
3. They Love Heat
Most mandevilla varieties take off once summer heat sets in. Because they hail from tropical and subtropical regions, you don’t need to worry about them surviving the weather. They even thrive in some of those especially hot spots, like brick planters or pots up against a south- or west-facing wall.
4. They Attract Pollinators
Hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees appreciate the nectar-filled, tube-shaped flowers of both vining and mounding mandevilla varieties. Plant some and you can feel good about helping pollinators and decorating your yard.
5. They’re Deer- and Rabbit-Resistant
If you share your yard with critters, you’re sure to be happy to hear that mandevilla are typically ignored by deer and rabbits. This is because the plants have a thick, milky sap that runs through their stems and leaves. This milky sap is unappetizing – and poisonous (a trait they share with most members of their plant family, which includes amsonia, annual and perennial vinca,desert rose,oleander, and plumeria).
6. You Can Bring Them in for Winter
Because they’re tropical plants, they don’t tolerate frosty or freezing temperatures. But, if you’ve fallen in love with your mandevilla and live in a cold climate, you can cut it back and bring them indoors before the first frost to overwinter inside. Though they typically don’t bloom much unless you keep them in front of a bright window, their rich green foliage is as attractive as many houseplants.