Rocket Trumpet


By Morag Flight

Dipladenia is a favoured member of the Mandevilla family and my mother used to always have one in her courtyard. It is a South American native that grows in tropical forests. With proper care, you can enjoy Dipladenia’s compact habit and luxuriant, trumpet-like blooms in your garden from year to year.

The plant is similar to Mandevilla which we will go through so you can decide which of these amazing flowering vines is the best option for your garden.

Dipladenia is in the Mandevilla family but has a decidedly different growth pattern. Mandevilla vines climb up vertical structures to seek the canopy light. Dipladenia is a bushier plant whose stems grow down and hang.

The two plants have similar brightly coloured flowers, but Mandevilla has a larger flower typically in red. Both plants need the same bright light and maintenance is the same. Dipladenia demands excellent drainage in containers or in the ground. Give it porous, well-draining soil.  When planting multiple Dipladenia vines, space the plants 24 inches apart.  If container-growing these vines, use pots which you can move easily. Dipladenia also makes a beautiful hanging basket.  I love the Dipladenia due to the finer leaves, smaller flowers, the fuller shape as well as the flowers being in a wide range of colors.

A major difference between Dipladenia and Mandevilla is the foliage. Dipladenia leaves are fine and pointed, deeply green and slightly glossy. Mandevilla vine has larger leaves with a broader shape. The flowers are trumpet shaped and full in hues of pink, white, yellow and red. The plants respond well to pinching as they grow, which forces out new bushier growth.

Unlike the Mandevilla, Dipladenia doesn’t send out as much upward growth but both need staking. The Dipladenia also attracts hummingbirds and bees.

Growing a Dipladenia Plant

This plant is ideal for our climate as it needs night time temperatures of around 21 Degrees Celsius. Water the plant frequently in the summer but let the top few inches of the soil dry out before watering.

The plant can grow in the ground or stay in a pot. I have found that it needs a long day of sunshine so make sure it is in a bright spot to form the best flowers.  Pinch off gangly growth when the plant is young to force thicker stronger branches. Fertilise every three to four weeks during the growing season with a liquid plant food as part of good Dipladenia care. You can stop fertilising over winter.

Images provided by Morag Flight

© Ndeipi magazine, Issue 105.

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