WHAT’S IN A NAME?

A MANDEVILLA MAY HAVE BEEN CALLED A DIPLADENIA BE­FORE, BUT EI­THER WAY, IT CAN RE­ALLY LIFT YOUR GAR­DEN

Central and North Burnett Times - - LIFE - GREEN THUMB WORDS: MA­REE CUR­RAN Got a gar­den­ing ques­tion? Email ma­ree@ede­nat­by­ron.com.au

Botan­i­cal names for plants can be pretty con­fus­ing at times. As we un­packed a heap of lovely fresh plants, I was re­minded of one of the most con­fus­ing plant name co­nun­drums of all – what is the dif­fer­ence be­tween a dipladenia and a mandevilla? They look al­most iden­ti­cal, with very sim­i­lar fo­liage and trum­pet-shaped flow­ers in white and shades of pink and red. But some are called dipladenia and some are called mandevilla. Mandevilla is a genus of trop­i­cal and sub­trop­i­cal flow­er­ing vines. They can grow sev­eral me­tres tall, twin­ing their long stems around what­ever they find to sup­port them. As well as these tall climbers, there are shorter, shrub­bier forms, and it is these shorter ones that used to be called diplade­nias. In 1933, the diplade­nias were re-clas­si­fied to be­come man­dev­il­las, but the name dipladenia has per­sisted in plant la­belling. To add to the con­fu­sion, fur­ther breed­ing and hy­bridi­s­a­tion has oc­curred, and many of the new com­pact forms have been re­leased us­ing the name mandevilla. So, I’d sug­gest we pay lit­tle at­ten­tion to whether they are called mandevilla or dipladenia and con­cen­trate in­stead on how they grow. For taller forms, the Sun Para­sol range is a good start­ing point and these come in white, pink, red and crim­son. Alice du Pont is a good vig­or­ous climber too, with crinkly leaves and lolly pink flow­ers. There are lots of shorter va­ri­eties that are bril­liant for pots, in­clud­ing the old favourites My Fair Lady (white), Red Rid­ing Hood (red), Scar­let Pim­per­nel (scar­let), Mer­lin’s Magic (dark pink), and Guin­e­vere (soft pink). The Aloha series is an­other col­lec­tion of com­pact forms in a range of colours. All of them do best in a warm, sunny po­si­tion, where they will flower pro­fusely from spring through sum­mer and into late au­tumn, even flow­er­ing through win­ter if they stay warm. The tall grow­ers are best in the ground or very large pots and will need some sup­port. The shorter ones are bril­liant in pots or even hang­ing bas­kets. Both need ex­cel­lent drainage, and need to stay a bit dry, es­pe­cially in cooler weather.

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