The Q&A Archives: Alice Du Pont Mandevilla

Question: How can I help mandevillas that have been planted outdoors survive the cold through the winter months?

Answer: Mandevilla is a tender plant that survives outdoors only in the mildest climates. You can try cutting it back in the fall and covering over it with a mound of compost or straw, but there's no guarantee it will survive. It would be better to keep your Mandevilla in a container (which you can bury in ground in spring and summer, but dig up in the fall to take indoors). If yours were in a container, you would need only to bring it indoors when your weather begins to cool down. The best place to keep it indoors is in a sunny window. Mandevilla can be pruned down to about 3' without harm, but wait until it has acclimated to growing indoors before pruning it back. This fall you can begin helping it become adjusted to living indoors by taking it inside during the night and taking it back outdoors during the day. Do this for about a week, leaving it inside for longer and longer periods of time. Wait a few weeks and then prune it down to a more manageable size. Mandevilla can grow to 12' as a vine, but it can be kept at about 3' with constant pinching and pruning. Since you'll be wintering your plant over each year, you'll probably want to keep it small. Under the right conditions of heat and light your Mandevilla will bloom indoors for you. Enjoy!

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