On Gar­den­ing: Man­dev­illa rocks trop­i­cal flower power

The Progress-Index - At Home - - NEWS - BY NOR­MAN WIN­TER

This summer it seems the man­dev­illa is reign­ing supreme for trop­i­cal flower power. Re­cently while in Colum­bus, Ga., I had the op­por­tu­nity to visit The Land­ings, an up­scale shop­ping or life­style cen­ter. The con­tain­ers and hang­ing bas­kets were sim­ply in­cred­i­ble thanks in part to the daz­zling show put on by the man­dev­il­las.

The man­dev­illa, also known as Brazil­ian jas­mine, rep­re­sents one of the best val­ues for your gar­den dol­lar. Sure they are trop­i­cal, but when you con­sider the vig­or­ous climb­ing abil­ity cou­pled with huge col­or­ful flow­ers un­til frost, you re­al­ize they are in­deed hard to beat.

The Alice du Pont has been around for a very long time and is still the one to which all oth­ers are com­pared. The large hot-pink fun­nel-shaped flow­ers and glossy leather-tex­tured leaves make this one of the truly great summer vines. While I am tout­ing them in con­tain­ers and bas­kets, know they will excel in the land­scape as well, pro­vided your soil is fer­tile and well drained.

At The Land­ings s the Alice du Pont man­dev­il­las were vig­or­ously climb­ing out of bas­kets that were hang­ing from or­nate lamp­posts. This cre­ated a dra­matic ver­ti­cal el­e­ment. Oth­ers were fea­tured promi­nently in large con­tain­ers. Their com­pan­ions were other col­or­ful bloomers like cal­i­bra coas, petu­nias and lan­tanas.

In other bas­kets they have the Sun Para­sols man­dev­illa. This hy­brid is also stun­ning and has be­come one of the hottest se­ries in the mar­ket place. The Sun Para­sol se­ries now boast three dis­tinct groups fea­tur­ing 17 se­lec­tions. The three groups are orig­i­nal, gi­ant and pretty, and I as­sure you they are all pretty.

At the Coastal Ge­or­gia Botan­i­cal Gar­dens we are us­ing Pretty Pink trained on bam­boo poles. They give a cloud-like bou­quet of pink tow­er­ing above pen­tas, ire­sine and Di­a­mond Frost euphor­bia.

As with most plants I write about, man­dev­il­las need well-drained soil to sur--

vive. This is one of the rea­sons that these con­tain­ers and bas­kets are so healthy and pic­turesque. If we will pre­pare our land­scape soil to make it or­ganic rich, we can du­pli­cate the re­sults demon­strated in the con­tain­ers.

For best bloom­ing, you will want your man­dev­illa to re­ceive at least six to eight hours of sun­light a day. Since it is such a vig­or­ous vine and flower pro­ducer, it needs small doses of fer­til­izer ev­ery two to three weeks.

In con­tain­ers or bas­kets that get wa­tered ev­ery day, like those in the shop­ping cen­ter, fer­til­iza­tion is manda­tory. Fre­quent, di­lute ap­pli­ca­tions of a wa­ter sol­u­ble fer­til­izer like a 20-20-20 will keep the plants at peak per­for­mance. Be sure to main­tain mois­ture dur­ing the hot, dry times of the summer. A pro­longed pe­riod with­out wa­ter may prove fa­tal to the plant.

In the South this is the choice plant of street-side mail­boxes ev­ery­where. If you have lat­tice struc­tures around the house, how­ever, the man­dev­illa will be pic­ture per­fect. If you are lucky enough to have a white a picket fence, then this is the plant to give you that “Caribbean Cot­tage Style” like you might see on the is­land of Saba or Mar­tinique.

There is still a lot of hot summer to go, so if you need a vine with trop­i­cal color then shop at your lo­cal gar­den cen­ter. Man­dev­il­las are most likely a re­ally good buy right now.

MCT PHOTO

Man­dev­il­las are a great bang for the gar­den­ing buck putting on a daz­zling show with trop­i­cal blooms un­til frost.

MCT PHO­TOS

Man­dev­il­las, left, paired here with petu­nias, cal­i­bra­choas and a mixed bas­ket, above, are a great bang for the gar­den­ing buck putting on a daz­zling show with trop­i­cal blooms un­til frost.

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