Q. I’ve never had one of these Mandevilla until this year. It is beautiful and I would like any info on caring for it you can give me.
– Peggy Stump, Taylorsville
A. Hi, Peggy: Mandevilla is a fun plant to grow. We typically see them as climbing vines but some varieties have more of a mounding growth habit. The abundant, colorful blooms (red, white, or pink) give a tropical flare to any garden. They will not survive temperatures colder than 50 degrees F. Here in Kentucky, it will need to be over-wintered indoors, ideally in a south-facing window or any space that receives bright light. If this is not an option, the next best thing is to cut the plant back to about one-third and let it over-winter in any space that does not dip below 60 degrees F. The foliage will drop and you will only want to water when the soil is dry to the touch, a couple of inches below the surface.
Less is better in terms of moisture but the idea is to keep it alive so you can take it back outside next spring. Growing your vine in a container will make the indoor/outdoor transition less stressful on you and the plant. When warm temperatures return you can take your Mandevilla outside and give it a dose of your favorite fertilizer. As long as the roots are healthy, it will put on new growth next growing season.
They prefer to grow in full sun but it is best to initially place it in a shadier space and gradually move it into the full sun after it has been indoors all winter long. This will prevent the foliage from burning. Of course, it is always easier and gives instant gratification to purchase a lush, new one (or two) next spring.