What Is Dipladenia, and What Makes It Different from Mandevilla?
Dipladenia is a flowering plant you've likely seen before, either at your local nursery or growing in a friend's pollinator garden. Most recognizable for its bushy leaves and trumpet-shaped flowers, this tropical plant thrives in pots, in the ground, and in hanging baskets. Horticulturist and gardening expert Melinda Myers has been growing dipladenia for about 30 years—ahead, she shares everything there is to know about the plant, including what makes it different from its relative, mandevilla.
They may be related, but dipladenia and mandevilla have aesthetic differences.
"Dipladenia is botanically in the mandevilla genus, but they used to be separate," says Myers. "When plants get renamed, it's hard for growers, gardeners, and everyone else to catch up." The two names are commonly used interchangeably, she says, but there are some differences between the plants. Dipladenia, for example, tend to be more shrub-like in appearance, with smooth, glossy leaves, while mandevilla has longer, thinner, textured leaves that are less bushy; this plant looks more like a vine. Both plants' flowers are similar, but dipladenia blooms are often smaller—plus, this iteration changes all the time, thanks, in part, to its popularity: Growers are regularly introducing new varieties, some of which include new bloom colors, larger blooms, denser foliage, or types that act more like a vine.
Dipladenia thrive in warm environments.
Dipladenia plants grow best in warm environments and are recommended for planting in zones 10 to 11, but they're also resilient; they can handle being moved indoors to overwinter in other zones. Myers, who currently lives in the Midwest, says that she's grown these buds "in a variety of locations, but I currently live on 11 acres, in an area where the winds are brutal." The only plant that can withstand those raging gusts? Basket-planted dipladenia, which virtually always hold up, she says.
Speaking of resilience, dipladenia are also happy in full sun and are drought tolerant: "They'll tolerate partial sun, but you should monitor them and move them to a sunnier spot if the plants are not performing as expected. They really thrive as the temperatures rises."
Some varieties are more popular than others.
Some of Myers's favorite varieties of dipladenia are Sun Parasols® (available in a variety of colors including crimson, pink, white, and apricot), yellow vining Summer Romance (Diamantina®), and Rio®. She says Diamantina® are meant to be more tolerant of cooler temperatures—plus, they bloom early.