You probably have never seen one of these new mandevillas, but you will soon. They are one of the best plants you'll find for a large pot or hanging basket in partial shade. The foliage is a bright, shiny green and the plants never stop pumping out big flowers in red or white. In the North, bring them indoors for the winter. They are fairly drought tolerant and do well in the heat, but they don't get ratty looking when frost approaches either. These mandevillas are almost shrubby and will grow about 2 feet across and 1 foot or more tall -- nothing at all like the old favorite, 'Alice duPont', a vigorous vine. Some nurserymen want to call them by their older name, Dipladenia, because they are so different. These new ones are very compact and flower much more heavily. One is called 'Red Riding Hood' and is increasingly available in good nurseries, typically as a hanging basket. Two other cultivars, 'Scarlet Pimpernel' and 'My Fair Lady', are new introductions from a breeder in Sweden. All three are available via mail order.
Article published on June 23, 2008.