Dainty ballerinas in pink tutus

By TheHindu on 14 Nov 2016

Named after the British diplomat who discovered it, the mandevilla vine adds a touch of tropical flair to the landscape Pinch the plant

For more flowers

The mandevilla vine has become a showy patio plant, weaving its way across trellises and banisters in the smaller gardens that we have in Bengaluru today. Their delicate and attractive flowers add a touch of tropical flair to any landscape. Since they grow faster than regular bougainvillea, a lot of gardeners are adding a mandevilla vine to their landscape or terrace garden.

The vine according to a gardening site is named after Henry Mandeville, who was a British diplomat who discovered the plant while serving in Argentina. An enthusiastic gardener, his book The Practice of Gardening , is still in print. Peggy Devaraj, an old Bangalorean calls the Mandevilla flowers “dainty ballerinas in their little pink tutus.”

Here are a few tips to keep your vine growing successfully. When we buy our mandevilla vine, chances are that it’s a lush plant full of wonderful flowers. To transplant it to the ground or into a bigger or more decorative container, remember mandevilla vines need sandy, well-draining soil with plenty of organic compost mixed in. A good soil mix for mandevilla plants include two parts of compost (leaf or wet waste) to one part of builder’s sand.

Just like most flowering vines, mandevilla’s need the correct light and shade to grow. They enjoy bright, indirect light or filtered sunlight, but can get burned in direct, full sunlight. Rajee Seetharam another avid flower lover feels that, “Every heart is uplifted by these gracious and gorgeous thickly flowering mandevilla vines.”

In order to get the best mandevilla flowers throughout the summer, you may also want to pinch the plant. This method of pruning the vine will create a bushier and fuller plant. Simply use your index fingers to literally pinch off one-fourth to half inch off the end of each stem. This will encourage new shoots to appear and the plant to look fuller.

“My vine is a year old and is flowering profusely on our terrace. The potting mix that I used was a mix of horse manure in red soil and wet waste compost. I was told not to over feed the plant as that will bring lots of leaves but less flowers,” says Kamala Ravindran who bought her vines from the small nurseries outside Lalbagh.

Since mandevillas are vines, they need proper support to grow. The vines produce a range of colours, from the white and pink to deep scarlet. With proper planting and maintenance, you can enjoy your mandevilla for several years.