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Mandevilla Lindl. 1840 x “Aloha White”
pronounced: man-dee-VILL-uh hybrid al-LOW-uh white
(Apocynaceae – the oleander family)
common name: Brazilian Jasmine
Mandevilla was named for John Henry Mandeville (1773 – 1861), a keen gardener who was a British diplomat in Buenos Aires from 1835 – 1845. The genus is a large one of around 120 species of mainly tuberous perennials, subshrubs and twisting vines, including the species formerly placed in Dipladenia, and many hybrids have been developed. The ones most often seen in cultivation are the beautiful fast-growing climbers of the genus, their vigorous growth quickly transforming a bare surface with foliage and flowers. They can be trained to cover fences or to climb up a lattice. They will cover an archway, or can be trimmed so that they grow into a shrub. They can even be grown indoors in a very well-lit light and airy position. Most of the plants have flowers that are various shades of crimson and pink, but the one pictured has snowy white flowers with a golden centre. There are also some species with cream-coloured flowers.
All members of the genus have large deep green leaves, elliptic to lanceolate in shape. The trumpet-shaped flowers are 5-lobed, grow singly on long stems, are often large, and sometimes fragrant. Most species are frost-tender, preferring a mild to warm climate, a position in dappled sunlight, and moist, humus-rich, well-drained soil. They do well in pots, but good drainage is important. The tuber-like roots, that are very efficient at holding water, are likely to rot if they remain wet for any length of time. The plants should be watered well during the growing and flowering season. If they get too much fertilizer, the growth will become rampant at the expense of the flowering. Care should be taken when pruning or cutting back, as all parts of the plant exude a milky latex when cut, and this can be a skin irritant. Shaping can usually be attained merely by turning any trailers back on to the plant or the support.
Mandevillas fall into three loose groups:
- Large-flowered: with large trumpet-shaped flowers and deep green, occasionally pleated, leaves.
- Deciduous (Mandevilla laxa): lose their leaves in winter, but produce waves of fragrant flowers in the summer. This is the best Mandevilla for colder climates: even if cut back completely by the cold, it will re-shoot from the base. Its perfume is particularly attractive at night.
- Dipladenias: these are considered to be forms of Mandevilla sanderii. Their smooth shiny leaves start off light yellow-green, and gradually age to a deep green.
Propagation is from cuttings.
Aphids will often cluster on the new shoots in spring and summer, and scale insects can also be troublesome.
Photographs taken in Picnic Bay 2014
Page last updated 27th ODecember 2016