Sun Parasol is the brand for a completely new collection of mandevilla hybrids, an entirely new group of varieties obtained by cross-breeding. The genus mandevilla has many subgroups, including sanderi, boliviensis and amoena, which are all known for their climbing or trailing properties. Until recently, sanderi was the leading variety in North America. However, the market for mandevilla has changed dramatically with the arrival of Sun Parasol. The popular Crimson varieties are the first that stay true to color. The new ‘Sun Parasol Garden Crimson’ is capturing a lot of attention as the first bedding plant mandevilla.
Sun Parasol mandevillas are classified into four groups:
• The Originals come in Crimson, Pink, Cream Pink, Dark Red and White with bushy, compact growth and medium-sized flowers. Exciting novelties – Stars & Stripes, Lush Crimson and Burgundy – are available in limited supply. Plants have good branching, neat foliage and are natural climbers suitable for pots, hanging baskets, balconies or as bedding plants and house plants.
• The Giants are available in White, Pink, Crimson and Carmine King. They have a vigorous growing habit, coarse foliage and are natural climbers suitable for patios, balconies and as house plants in sunny areas. They are the classic mandevilla.
• The Pretty group, which comes in Pink and Crimson, is distinguished by superior branching and vigorous growth. It can be grown as a traditional pot plant, even in 4- and 6-inch pots. Flower size is the same as the Original group but foliage is glossy, thinner and more vining. Plants are natural climbers suitable for hanging baskets, patios and balconies.
• The Garden group begins with Garden Crimson. These plants are uniquely positioned for quart pots and will finish in 14 weeks. Plant in masses in beds, containers and baskets. No trellises are needed for support.
Mandevillas are long-day plants. Buds are initiated with 10-11 hour days for the Pretty type and the Originals. The Giant group will flower with 12-hour days. Varieties in each group vary depending on the color. Ideal growing temperature is 65-75˚F the first two to three weeks after potting. Keep plants on the dry side to encourage roots to grow out of the plug quickly. Temperature can then be lowered to 65-70˚F. Lower temperatures can be used, but plants will take longer.
Initial potting should take place in a 4-to 5-inch pot. Growing media should have a pH between 5.0 and 5.5. Depending on the time of year, three to four weeks after potting, the leading shoot will begin to grow quickly. The plant will then require a pinch to encourage a bushy habit. Two types of pinches can be carried out:
Method 1 – This type of pinch is a soft pinch, where you will leave at least four pairs of leaves and get fewer breaks and take these up for training. Pinching is done higher.
Method 2 – This method is for short, compact plants. Regular pinching is required once the desired height has been achieved. This will encourage a bushy and dense plant for a nice finish and earlier sale.
Watering is critical and a dry regime is more suited than a wet one, where plants can become prone to root diseases. Too dry and there will be a problem with nutrient uptake. It is best to water lightly and often. The best way to control growth is with water retention, especially with the white-colored varieties.
Pests & Diseases
Monitor for whiteflies, western flower thrips, aphids, red spider mites, fungus gnats, shore flies and mealy bugs. Diseases to prevent are Botrytis, Phytophthora, Rhizoctonia, Fusarium, Cylindrocarpen (root rot), Cercospora (leaf spot) and Colletrotichum (leaf spot).