Dipladenia and Mandevilla are often confused with each other due to their similar flowers, but there are a few differences between these two plants. Nevertheless, both plants have the same requirements when it comes to water, light, and soil. Learn how to distinguish these two and how to properly care for them.
What is Dipladenia/Mandevilla?
Since the early 1900’s, a few decades after the genus Mandevilla was described for the first time, the larger varieties of this plant were called Mandevilla, while smaller ones, bush-like, were called Dipladenia. Now, they are all classified into the genus Mandevilla which consists of nearly 200 hundreds tropical species and hybrids. They all have beautiful, trumpet-like flowers.
So, they do belong to the same genus, but if you observe them carefully you will notice small differences.
First, they have a different growth pattern. Mandevilla is a creeper or a vine and tends to climb very high, while Dipladenia is a bushier variety. Dipladenia grows into a small bush and won’t grow vertically unless you train it to grow as a short vine, but it can never vine as much as Mandevilla does.
Mandevilla can grow up to 20 feet or more and it will wonderfully vine up a trellis, arbor or pergola. On the other side, the shrubby Dipladenia will make a beautiful hanging basket.
There are also small differences in leaves shape. Dipladenia leaves are heart-shaped, thicker and wider, with a smooth texture, while Mandevilla has narrower and longer leaves which are quite rough compared to Dipladenia foliage. Dipladenia also has smaller flowers than Mandevilla.
But, if you’re confused with the classification and still not sure if you have a Dipladenia or a Mandevilla, the good news is they require the same conditions, so you can’t make a mistake with your plant!
Plants of the Mandevilla genus are mainly tropical flowering vines. Since these are tropical plants native to warm climates of South America, Central America, Mexico, and the Southwestern US, they just love plenty of sun. In order to produce more flowers, they need to be placed in full sun position. They bloom best if they receive 6 to 8 hours of sun each day. In hot climates, you should consider protecting your plant from hot, midday sun to avoid sun burns on leaves.
The plant should be protected from frost if grown outside. Make sure the temperatures never drop bellow 50°F (10°C). Bring your plant indoors for the winter.
Both Dipladenia and Mandevilla can tolerate some drought, and you can allow the soil to dry out between waterings. The plant’s root can’t tolerate wet soil, so the soil has to be well-drained.
Is Dipladenia a Perennial or an Annual?
Depending on a zone, Dipladenia can be both perennial and annual. It is usually a tender annual unless you grow it in warm, frost-free climate zones, such as USDA zones 9, 10 and 11. In these zones, it will act like an evergreen.
In some zones where a light frost can occur, like USAD zone 8, the plant will act like a perennial and will die back to the ground when the temperature falls, but it will appear again in spring.
In colder zones, Dipladenia is usually grown as an annual outside, or a perennial if grown in a pot or a container and overwintered indoors.
Winter Care for Dipladenia
As previously said, Dipladenia is a tender plant which cannot tolerate prolonged freezing temperatures.
When growing Dipladenia as an outdoor perennial in warm climates you can bring it indoors during winter if needed. When you bring your plant indoors once a fall has arrived, place it in a warm position or close to a window that gets enough light. South- or west-facing room would be an ideal solution.
But if you want your plant to overwinter outdoors in colder climates, cut it to the ground and protect it with a pot. This way you will protect it from freezing and the plant will regrow in spring. you can protect the root if you mulch it with a few layers of straw, bark or some other organic matter used for insulation.
Varieties of Dipladenia
All Dipladenias are smaller and bushier than other vines of the Mandevilla genus. The most popular varieties such as ‘Rio Dipladenia‘, ‘Dipladenia Sundeville’, ‘Costa Del Sol’ comes in various colors – vibrant red, scarlet red, white or bright pink.
There is even a selection with striped flowers, such as ‘Stars and Stripes’ variety, or with variegated foliage such as ‘Fire’ and ‘Ice Fury’.
Widely popular selections are those with attractive, vibrant, deep-red flowers such as ‘Red Riding Hood‘, ‘Aloha Dark Red’, ‘Summervillea mandevilla’ etc. These are all bushy forms of Mandevilla and are ideal for pots, containers and hanging baskets.
“Alice du Pont” Mandeville is a famous variety with the tendency to grow vigorously and reach more than 15 feet in height. Flowers are ice-pink with the darker pink throat.
Common Issues with Dipladenia
Pest problems with Dipladenia are rare. But, they can attract spider mites, scales, whiteflies, and aphids sometimes. If you notice any of these, simply apply an insecticidal soap which will destroy pests without harming your plant. If they reappear repeat the spraying and spray it thoroughly.
Fungal diseases can appear on Dipladenia too. If it develops a fungal disease, you will notice distinctive brown spots on leaves. In that case, you can make a fungicide by mixing 2 spoons of liquid copper concentrate with 1 gallon of water. Spray the plant and repeat if needed.
Besides pests, there are several issues caused by improper care and non-adequate conditions. If your plant suddenly loses leaves or if the leaves are turning yellow and you haven’t noticed any pests, you might have a problem with under or overwatering. Observe your plant and the soil carefully to determine the exact cause of the problem.
Sometimes, yellowing leaves can be caused by the lack of nutrients. Feed your plant with fertilizer with the high level of phosphorus. A fertilizer is beneficial especially during the blooming stage.