Virtues: Sun Parasols first showed their velvety petals in North America in 2003, bred by Suntory Flowers Ltd. in Japan. There are several selections in this series that are all valued for their long bloom seasons, low maintenance and resistance to disease.
Common name: Sun Parasol mandevilla
Botanical name: Mandevilla Sun Parasol series
Flowers: The Giant Crimson variety hosts the largest flowers, reaching a diameter of 4 to 6 inches. Sun Parasol petals are often fringed like in the Carmine King variety, and can even be striped as in the Stars & Stripes variety. Blooms can be shades of white, red, pink and orange depending on variety.
Foliage: Sun Parasol mandevillas are evergreen vines (where hardy) with dark green glossy leaves.
Habit: Spreading/climbing. Being a vine, this plant requires support. Among the varieties of Sun Parasol mandevillas, growth rates range from moderate to fast and will grow 6 to 8 feet or 10 to 15 feet in length.
Season: At least spring to fall. Some variations will bloom until the first frost.
How to grow it: All varieties need partial to full sun. Sun Parasol mandevilla is intolerant to cold, and needs regular watering. Increase watering in extreme heat, but make sure not to overwater during the winter months. Temperatures below 45˚F will stunt plant growth. If planted in a container it should be free draining, and it is recommended to use soil conditioner. Where temps fall below 45, grow this plant as an annual or bring it indoors and keep it as a houseplant until temperatures climb in spring.
Image: Sun Parasol ‘Pretty Deep Red’, courtesy of Suntory Flowers.