Plants – Mandevilla Trellis

Mandevilla vines have spectacular pink flowers and grow inches by the day. I brought mine indoors when the nights grew cool expecting the plant to slip into a dormant state. The vine surprised me by growing in every direction at a fast pace. Soon, I needed to find a way to support the long tendrils.

I wanted to keep the appearance of the Mandevilla natural and clean, as minimal as possible. An area near me has quite a few wild grapevines hanging from trees. I found a few branches, about four foot in length, clipped them off and brought them home to fashion into a trellis.

Success! The trellis was easy to achieve. I poked the thicker ends into the soil along the pot sides, about three inches down. The springy tips were flexible, but also upright, and rose high above the plant.

Since the grapevine is loaded with large tendrils I twisted these gently around the uppermost stems and the trellis became self-supporting. I didn’t need to do any tying. How easy was that? The finished trellis does a perfect job supporting the vines as they coil up the stems. Problem Solved!

Phlowers & Pheathers – April 30th, Growing in the Garden/The Hummingbirds Return

We have been seeing a small ruby-throated hummingbird for two weeks. It has been visiting the feeder of nectar I have outside the kitchen window. Every other day, I bring the feeder in, soak it in hot, sudsy water, and refill with newly boiled sugar water. (2 Cups water, 1/2 Cup sugar) Hummingbird feeders can spread disease or become contaminated with mold. A great article on feeding hummingbirds can be found at EcoSystem Gardening.

NOTE: Thanks to a reader for the great comment about cleaning with vinegar. I did a bit of research on it and this is a good choice for cleaning the feeder. Also, another good idea is to use a brush to thoroughly clean all the nooks around the feeder openings. Here’s a link to more ideas for cleaning a hummingbird feeder. How to Clean a Hummingbird Feeder.

Mandevilla Vines come in a variety of colors. I chose to grow the pink flowers this year. These vines are beloved by hummingbirds. The vines bloom from Spring until Autumn, they do well in full sun, but also need to be shaded from the hottest late afternoon rays. I am growing the Mandevilla in a pot so that when summer is over I can bring it indoors for the colder months.

My mandevilla flowers are part of Cee’s Flower of the Day and also an entry in this week’s Skywatch Friday.

I have three hanging baskets a yard or two away from the hummingbird feeder. These are filled with plants I know hummingbirds adore. Blue Suede Salvia and Vista Red Salvia, also called sages, have the trumpet-shaped flowers that perfectly fit a hummingbird’s beak and tongue. These plants do great in full sun, but also can take a bit of shade too.

My beautiful Vermillion Cuphea, also known as Firecracker plants, are always a favorite with the hummingbirds. I grow them in the ground and also planted in pots. Last Autumn, the Firecracker plant I grew in a pot easily transferred to the house. It grew well all winter, and this week I placed it outdoors on the patio again. It is doing well, although some of the uppermost leaves, after growing in the lower light of the house, promptly became sunburned. Since I pinched the tops of these stems, new branching will soon leaf out and cover up the scorched top leaves.

Cuphea plants in a row will make a nice seasonal hedge. This plant is perennial in warmer climates.