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GardenSMART :: Demystifying Mandevillas and Dipladenias

Demystifying Mandevillas and Dipladenias

By Delilah Onofrey, Suntory Flowers
Photographs courtesy of Suntory Flowers

Mandevillas and dipladenias look very similar, and the names are often used interchangeably at retail. On your plant tag, you may notice a plant labeled as a dipladenia looks very much like a Sun Parasol Original Crimson mandevilla.

This is because most of the hybrids on the market have been bred from both classes of plants. A classic mandevilla has larger leaves and larger flowers. It's a vigorous flowering vine that should be trellised or supported. The most common example is 'Alice Dupont', a beautiful dark pink-flowered variety introduced by Longwood Gardens.

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Dipladenias have a more compact growth habit, smaller leaves and smaller flowers. Most of the red flowers on the market were bred from dipladenias.

Mandevillas have rougher leaves that are sometimes ridged or rippled, even hairy. Dipladenia leaves are smooth and glossy. Most common flower colors are red, white and pink, but newer hybrids have been introduced in shades of bright yellow and soft apricot, expanding the possibilities.

Suntory Flowers offers the widest assortment of colors and forms. The following is an overview of the various types:

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Sun Parasol Original Group – Most like dipladenia, the plants are compact and branching, can have a bushier habit or be trained to a trellis. Colors include Crimson, Dark Red, Pink, Cream Pink, White and the novel Stars & Stripes with white streaks from the center.

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Sun Parasol Giant Group – The most dramatic flowering vine, large leaves, large flowers. Requires the most sun and heat to produce flowers and is a stunner all summer! Colors include Giant Crimson, Giant Pink, Giant White, Giant Dark Pink, Giant Pure White and Red Emperor.

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Sun Parasol Pretty Group – Heavily branched and vining but smaller leaves and smaller flowers. Produces the highest number of flowers. Stunning on a trellis. Colors include Pretty Pink and Pretty Crimson.

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Sun Parasol Garden Group – A true bedding plant mandevilla that can be planted en masse in beds or in patio containers and hanging baskets. Plants are more compact than the Original Group with lower breaks to cascade more gracefully. Colors include Garden Crimson and Garden White.

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Sundenia Dipladenias – These plants combine the best of both worlds – larger flowers and a more compact, manageable habit. It's like putting larger flowers on the Original types. Colors include Crimson, Red, White and the unique Coral.

Tips For Enjoying Your Mandevillas & Dipladenias All Summer

  • Keep soil well drained and allow to dry out between waterings. Mandevillas do not like to have wet feet. Too much water will lead to leaf yellowing.
  • Plant in a sunny exposure – mandevillas love heat and light. The warmer the weather, the better!
  • Train vining types to trellises or supports. They will climb all summer. In the right environment, a true vining mandevilla can reach 20 feet!
  • Truly tropical, plants are hardy to zones 10-11 and will not overwinter. You can bring plants inside and keep them alive in a more dormant state through winter until spring warms up again. But it's really just easier to buy new ones!


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