What is Dipladenia?

Victoria Blackburn

In horticulture, dipladenia is a type of plant that has about 120 different species in total. These plants originate from the woodlands of Central and South America, and include both annual and perennial species of plant. These plants are flowering plants and can have large flowers in the summer, which are usually white, pink or red. Many people confuse these plants with the mandevilla species of plants, which are very similar.

If ingested, dipladenia will cause stomach upset.
If ingested, dipladenia will cause stomach upset.

The two names are often used interchangeably, but they are actually different species of plant. The easiest way to tell the difference between the two is by looking at the leaves and flowers, as well as how they grow. Mandevilla have non-shiny leaves that are larger than the more leathery, shiny ones found on a dipladenia species. Also, the former has bigger flowers when compared to the latter. Finally, mandevilla tend to be climbers while dipladenia can be grown as climbers or within containers.

Dipladenias have originated from the woodlands of Central and South America.
Dipladenias have originated from the woodlands of Central and South America.

Dipladenia plants have woody stems and can be grown as climbing plants or as bushes. It is not uncommon for the climbers to reach heights of 10 feet (3.048 meters) or taller. The climbing plants will usually grow more than one stem and twine around each other, as well as other nearby plants or structures. These plants do well in partial shade or bright light, but not direct sunlight.

The stems have opposite leaves that grow the length of the stems. The leaves can often grow to four inches, (10 cm) in length. The flowers have a whorled shape that opens into a trumpet made up of five petals. They can grow to be three to five inches (7to 13 centimeters) across. They come in a variety of shades from dark pink and red to white.

Dipladenia are easy to grow and propagate. The plants can be grown from cuttings taken from a mature plant or from seeds. If planted outside, they can only be kept in the ground in areas free from snow and frost. Ideally, the temperature should not drop below 55F, or 13C. Plants can be grown in containers and hanging baskets and can be brought inside for the colder months of the year in more northerly climates.

Within the stems, a milky sap can be found. For some people, contact with the sap can cause skin irritation. All parts of the plant will cause stomach upset, usually mild, if ingested.

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