What is Dipladenia?
Dipladenia is a flowering plant under the Mandevilla genus and the Dogbane family of toxic plants, Apocynaceae. Scientifically, it is known as Mandevilla sanderi or Dipladenia sanderi. It is also known as rocktrumpet due to the shape of its flowers. The plant is perennial and ever-green with an upright growth.
Native to Central and South America, the perennial vines thrive in tropical forests. They are grown as accent houseplants indoors in planter grow bags (especially in the northern regions with cool climates) and placed near windows for access to natural light or outdoors in summer or warm climates. Although the plant is often confused for Mandevilla due to their similarity, they differ in foliage.
Dipladenia sanderi and Mandevilla belong to the same family of plants. However, their growth patterns differ. Whereas dipladenia is a shrub-like plant with a fuller shape and stems that grow and hang low, Mandevilla plants are vines that climb structures vertically to get enough sunlight.
Although both plants feature brightly-colored flower petals, the flowers of Mandevilla are larger and red. The smaller flowers and finer leaves of dipladenia plants make them a preferred choice of many gardeners and homeowners to Mandevilla plants.
Dipladenia plants have fine, pointed and deep-green, simple, alternate leaves with a glossy texture. On the other hand, Mandevilla vine leaves are larger and broader in shape. Dipladenia has white, pink, red and yellow flowers in the shape of a trumpet.
Although it doesn't grow vertically as much as its counterpart plants and thus requires no staking like vines, pinching promotes foliage growth. Dipladenia easily attracts butterflies, bees and hummingbirds, making them good pro-pollinators. The vibrant and tubular nature of the flowers indicate to pollinators such as bees of the availability of nectar in abundance.
Cultivation of Dipladenia Plants
Dipladenia plants thrive well in warm temperatures with a range of 18 0C to 21 0C at night. It requires watering, but the soil must never be flooded to prevent rotting. They can be started in pots or in gardens with warm, well-drained soils. Dipladenia requires enough indirect sunlight to grow. They do well in moist, humus-rich soils and hardy to USDA zone 9.
During the early growing stages, dipladenia requires pinching for faster foliage growth of stronger and thicker branches. It might also require staking for upright growth before maturity. As the plant grows, it requires application of liquid fertilizer (rich in phosphorous) every fortnight except in winter.
Potted Dipladenia Plant
Dipladenia plants grown indoors as houseplants require artificial light in high levels to bud and bloom. Remove mulch in spring to ensure sufficient natural light gets to the plants to support sprouts. Good drainage and high quality potting mix are also handy when planting dipladenia plants.
The size of the pot for starting dipladenia seeds is also important. It should be large enough, but not too large to strain plants to use up more energy in root production. The perennial plant can grow up to 60cm in height after frost in temperate climates.
The plants are drought-tolerant and don't require deadheading. It can be planted 20 cm deep and 30cm apart, from one plant to the next.
Decrease watering in winter and trim the trellis for plant support. Keep the plants dry and only resume fertilizing and watering in spring. Control pruning to make sure there's enough foliage for flowering. Keep the plants indoors in cold weather and outdoors in warm weather.
Plant covers can also help protect the plants outdoors from cold weather. Dipladenia plants bloom throughout the year and are easy to grow in hanging baskets, containers or even garden beds. Do not fertilize to let the plants rest longer from October to April.
The plants can be grown in patio containers or potted for use as houseplants to improve the appeal of interior spaces and landscapes. They can also be used on posts, fences, trellises and latticework to hide unsightly views or provide more privacy in decks or patios.
Grow Dipladenia at Home
You can grow dipladenia plants at home in your garden, patio (or deck) or even indoors in pots as houseplants.