Mandevilla (a.k.a. Apocynaceae), part of the Periwinkle family, is a tropical vine that comes in a many varieties, thanks to cross breeding. It produces colorful trumpet shaped flowers during the warmer months that do not fade for an extended time period. If you are looking for a plant to climb a trellis and fill in a plain area of your house or garden, this plant will do the trick and will do so quickly since it is a rapid grower.
Although the Sunset Western Garden Book indicates that they require full sun or partial shade, our Mandevilla only gets direct sun in the first part of the afternoon, yet it is exceptionally pleased with its location. Having it against the stucco of the house likely helps with providing additional heat. Also, we were recently in Golden Gate State Park in San Francisco where we saw many healthy Mandevilla. The plants were thriving even though Golden Gate is often covered in cool fog.
Beware of spider mites! We have had problems with them since the first month of planting our Mandevilla. They looked like little yellow bumps on the vines. Up close it is hard to tell if they are bugs or a fungus. You can read more about spider mites and how to treat them at this website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spider_mite
Tips and Tales
v Our Mandevilla likes a good soaking every two or three days when it is hot out. Having a drainage hole in the bottom of the pot helps to keep the water flowing through so the roots do not rot.
v Unwind all of the vines before attaching it to a trellis. This allows you to train the vines to grow in the directions you want. Simply wind the vines loosely through the trellis opening – the vine will grasp onto the trellis and continue to climb.
v Contrary to common belief, despite its need for warm temperatures, Mandevilla can be grown in colder climates. Watch this video for tips on how to do so. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1kdWdzOuDU&feature=related