Monday, October 1, 2007

Plant ID: Mandevilla x amoena

My friend was given this plant but is unsure of what it is called.
Can you please tell me what it is and how to overwinter it here in Michigan?

The plant your friend was given is called a mandevilla (Mandevilla x amoena). Native to Brazil, this climbing vine is a hybridized cross of Mandevilla amabilis and Mendevilla spendens. Because of its tropical origin, the plant cannot tolerate winter temperatures below 55 or 60 degrees. Therefore, the only option to successfully overwinter the plant in Michigan is to bring it inside. Keep it in an area of bright light, but be careful that it is not too close to a hot, dry radiator. Continue to water it as you have been, and as winter comes you can ease up and water more sparingly. When overwintering tropicals inside, I like to use below the pot a glazed saucer with a layer of stones or pebbles in it. This way excess water that is in the saucer can evaporate and provide a little extra humidity during the dry winter months without running the risk of rotting the roots of the plant. You can also mist the foliage if you feel the plant is getting too dry. A reference book I have says to cut the plant back to keep it bushy and promote next years flower, but I might recommend against that. I had one in my home years ago that I cut back hard this time of year and it seemed like forever before it got to be as full as it was. I prefer to stake it well and let it continue to climb. Through the winter the vine should continue to grow and put out new foliage, but do not expect much in the way of flowers until next summer. When you move it outside next spring check on the roots as it may be ready to be repotted.
Reference: Indoor Plants: The Essential Guide to Choosing and Caring for Houseplants by Jane Courtier and Graham Clarke, Reader's Digest, 1997.

1 comment:

  1. This is an extraordinarily beautiful vine -- and the seeds, flowers and leaves are poisonous. I don't get the enigmatic contradiction. What are the symptoms of poisioning? Will it cure a headache? How does the poison work in the body/human, animal?