Plant Talk | Science Talk

How to Over-Winter a Mandevilla Vine

For answers to some of the questions that have been left in the comments see this follow-up post.

Ed. note: Earlier this week I went for a walk in the Conservatory courtyard and spotted a beautiful Mandevilla vine growing vigorously in a container. I tweeted a picture of it, and almost immediately we got a reply from Twitter-user Jacqueline Lewis asking what is the best method for over-wintering this beautiful vine. It seemed like a really good question, so I put it to Gardener for Public Education, Sonia Uyterhoeven. Her answer is below. ~ A.R.

MandevillaMandevilla (Mandevilla splendens) is native to Brazil. It has glossy leaves and striking trumpet shaped flowers. It is generally grown as a vine but can also be pruned to maintain a shrub-like upright shape. Mandevilla (Mandevilla x amabilis) is a hybrid that grows to be a large vine reaching 8 to 10 feet tall. They are generally grown on trellis.

Both the species and the cultivated variety love light and good drainage. Wait until it starts to dry out before you water. Fertilize your mandevilla every other week with a liquid fertilizer when it is actively growing. Unlike many tropical plants, mandevilla does not like to be pot bound so give it room to grow.

Mandevilla are not hardy in our area, USDA Zone 6, so you have two options if you would like to over-winter your vine. The first option is to bring it into your home. If you have enough space and a bright sunny window then move the container inside once the weather starts to cool down.

MandevillaIt is always a good idea to prune it back before you transfer it into your home. Cut the vine back so that it is a comfortable size for your home–by half is fine–less or more will also work. It will grow slowly during the winter months. You do not need to encourage growth at this time of year by fertilizing the plant, just water it when it begins to dry out.

Sometime in February, give the plant another good pruning and begin to fertilize it once a month. Mandevilla flowers on new growth. By pruning and fertilizing the plant, you are working to give it an early start so that when you place it outside in May or June it will take off and soon be covered with flowers. If you are growing a mandevilla in your home, it is a good idea to lower your thermostat to somewhere in the 60s or low 70s, otherwise it may get too dry.

The second option for over-winter your mandevilla is to allow it go dormant. Keep the vine outside until it gets nice and cool and then move it into a cool garage or basement that maintains a winter temperature above freezing, around 50?F is ideal. In this scenario you should cut the plant back hard, to about 12 inches. Occasionally give it water so that it doesn’t dry out, but essentially leave it alone. Bring it inside when spring is just around the corner and let it start to grow. Then set it outside and enjoy this beautiful plant throughout the summer. Good luck!

  1. Ian McAndrew says:

    Thanks for the information, but pruning seems to present one problem – milky sap dripping from cut ends. How do I deal with that or can I just ignore it?
    Also how do I propagate the plant?

  2. Ann Rafalko says:

    Hi Ian – Thank you for your question! Here is a reply from Sonia!

    Mandevilla is in the Apocynaceae Family – the Dogbane Family. Many members of this family has a milky latex sap. The sap can be a skin irritant so wear gloves when you are pruning your mandevilla.

    There are a number of ways to propagate the vine. You can propagate it from seed – it’s best to soak the seeds for 12 hours before planting. You can take cutting in the spring or in the late summer from the new growth. The cuttings should be about 2-3 inches long and have two sets of leaves – remove the bottom set. Dip in rooting hormone. Use 2 parts sand to 1 part peat for your mix or a sterile, soilless potting medium. Mist cuttings and cover. Place in indirect light with temperatures around 70 degrees Farhenheit. They will root somewhere between 1-2 months. You can also layer the mandevilla by taking a low lying branch and layering it in another pot. Make sure the stem has good contact with the potting soil. It will take several months for it to root. There are many excellent videos on Youtube that will show you how to take cuttings and to layer.

  3. Ian McAndrew says:

    Thank you (both) for the prompt reply. Happy New Year. Ian.

  4. Jay Patel says:

    Hi I was wondering if i can put the mandevillas in a greenhouse because i have 8 of them and they are very big in pot size.

  5. jennifer drew says:

    If i am removing it from the earth to a container, what size container is a good size?

  6. Cathie Mylius says:

    Choose a container that is big enough so it won’t get root bound. The Mandevilla does NOT like to be cramped and needs plenty of “leg room”.

  7. Linda says:

    How often is occasionally for dormant watering?

  8. Fay says:

    I am losing leaves fast. What should I do?

  9. Milton says:

    Last year I tried to divide at the root; many “pinky finger” type corms; tried to grow some of them but they rotted. No one ever talks about dividing from root – wondering why?

  10. sue says:

    My mandevilla got touched by some frost here in GA. They look pretty bad. Can they be salvaged or should I look to getting some new ones in the spring?

  11. Matt Newman says:

    Hi everyone,

    We recently posted a follow-up from Sonia answering many of the questions posed here in the comments. If your question wasn’t answered, don’t worry—we’ll try to get back to you in the near future!

    http://23.253.106.247/plant-talk/2013/10/tip-of-the-week/how-to-over-winter-a-mandevilla-vine-the-follow-up/

  12. R.Kelly says:

    I took my plant inside and pruned it up and it started growing real good. after about a month,the leafs started falling off and a white fungus started getting all over it. What is the fungus and will it hurt the plant?

  13. Mel says:

    I planted my Alice Dupont Mandevilla in the ground. I live in ohio and I would like to winter it in the ground. What can be done to ensure it’s survival?

  14. Nancy Knoell says:

    I have little yellow powder on the stems, not on the leaves. How should I treat this?

  15. Dan says:

    our mandevilla we brought inside in fall . pruned back to 12-15 in. was dorment 2 months then budded out. now leaves are turning black on the edges and curling up and falling off. what is wrong..

  16. Sue Payne says:

    I did not bring in my plant; however, have made a high mound of mulch to cover the plant. I live in zone 7. Do you think there may be a chance the plant will survive?

    Up until last week, our weather has not been extremely cold.

    Thank you.

    P.S. Love this plant and will purchase more

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