We love flowering tropical plants for their exotic beauty, and queen among them are dipladenia. They are also super versatile for gardens, patios, balconies and even indoors.
Hailing from Brazil, Dipladenia are part of the Mandevilla family. But unlike the climbing varieties, dipladenia are generally shrubby plants with glossy bright green leaves and profusion of trumpet shaped flowers in a wide range of colours, from white to deep maroon red.
Within the Dipladenia Diamantina range there are compact and semi-trailing varieties and even a mini climber (Opale Grenat) for training up a small trellis. They bloom from late spring through to autumn and the flowers don’t fade in the hot sun. Some may produce growth shoots that can be trained up a mini trellis or cut off if one wants a bushy plant.
Diamantina ‘Jade’ is a great filler for garden beds, and especially in containers and hanging baskets. It is a very compact variety, growing 25 – 30cm high and wide. In tropical plantings, whether in gardens, courtyards or patios they provide bursts of non-stop colour that stand out against the shiny foliage of other tropical plants. They do produce tendrils giving you the option of using it as a dwarf climber or cutting off the shoots to keep the plant bushy.
Diamantina grow particularly well in containers, and can be showy plants for a deck, patio or balcony. While they like plenty of sun, hot afternoon sun can be too intense and may scorch the leaves.
As a feature against a patio or balcony wall, use Diamantina ‘Opale’ which is a semi-trailing mini climber that grows up to 60cm. They take up very little space and soften the effect of brick walls. Training them up a small trellis or a pole is the best way to show off their blooms, that will be a focal point. For a real colour splash, plant Diamantina ‘Jade’ around the base of ‘Opale’.
Good to know: Don’t attach a trellis directly to a wall because plants need space to grow between the wall and the support. Fix the trellis to poles as a free-standing structure a few centimetres away from the wall. If the container is large enough, a trellis can be put into the pot.
Diamantina ‘Tourmaline’ is also compact variety but differs from Diamantina Jade in that it is a Mandevilla hybrid that is more floriferous but with a ‘non-climbing ‘ habit. The distinctive star shaped flowers are very large and have an unusual shimmery colour. Plants grow upright to about 50cm, and fill out, making it a good choice for large containers and planters. It can also be used for topiary.
Growing tips for Dipladenia
Dipladenia plants are really easy to care for as long as they receive plenty of sunlight, but not hot afternoon sun.
- Garden plants need at least six hours of sunshine and container plants prefer morning sun with afternoon shade. Indoor plants need a warm, sunny room.
- Plants will cope with short periods of drought but will do best if watered regularly, especially in very sunny positions.
- Fertilise with a liquid fertiliser or slow release 5:1:5 fertiliser like Vigorosa once a month to encourage continuous flowers and new growth.
- In cold areas during winter the plant may partly defoliate but will regrow in spring. Move containers into a sheltered area as plants are frost tender.
For more information visit Ball Straathof.
TEXT: Alice Coetzee