|How can I keep my mandevilla over the winter indoors? I brought it in this fall and it lost all its leaves. Now it has a vine with a few tiny leaves.
|Unfortunately, barring an insect problem, your plant is probably showing its objection to being indoors with lower light and drier air. In winter it tends to slow down and may even defoliate under low light conditions. You can try to keep it in active growth by bringing it in gradually, providing as much light as possible and watering and fertilizing a bit less to compensate as it slows down for the winter. Try to keep humidity high and temperatures around 65 degrees or more. Alternatively, you can also simply try to keep it alive and allow it to rest; to do this, simply reduce watering to a minimum, do not fertilize, and keep it cool (about 5o degrees) and bright. It may defoliate but will rejuvenate in the spring when the light and temperatures increase again. When it begins to grow, resume normal watering and fertilizing and set it outdoors as soon as temperatures have moderated. Spring is also the time to cut it back if it has grown straggly over the winter. Be sure, too, to acclimate it gradually to the real sunshine so that it doensn't "sun burn" when you take it outdoors.