Do Hummingbirds Like Dipladenia?

do-hummingbirds-like-dipladenia

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There are few things more amazing than the sight of a garden full of shimmering darting hummingbirds feeding on flowers. If you’ve been lucky enough to see it you’ll never forget it, and you may want to know how to create that sight in your backyard. The good news is that there are plenty of things you can do to make your garden attractive to hummingbirds, and you might be wondering – do hummingbirds like Dipladenia?

Hummingbirds love Dipladenia; these large, brilliant flowers are just the right color and shape to attract hummingbirds. However, this tropical plant may have trouble surviving in colder climates and may be sensitive to pests and botanical diseases.

So what is Dipladenia?

Dipladenia refers to a small number of flowering tropical plants with showy, trumpet-shaped flowers. They are part of a large genus called Mandevilla. They originate from Brazil and are found throughout the southern United States, Mexico, Central, and South America. While trying to find out if hummingbirds like Dipladenia you might find Dipladenia plants referred to as Mandevilla – well, there’s a reason for that, as I’ll explain below!

I’m confused: is it Dipladenia or Mandevilla?

Dipladenia’s proper name is “Mandevilla”: the two groups were once thought to be separate with only the larger-flowered, climbing varieties being considered Mandevilla. Now, however, it’s been recognized that they’re part of the same group – but the name “Dipladenia” still gets used for the smaller, shrubbier varieties.

The varieties referred to as Dipladenia tend to have smaller flowers than their showier cousins, with smaller and more pointed leaves. While Mandevillas are vines that will readily climb up to 20 feet, Dipladenia is smaller and more bush-shaped, though it will still happily be trained to grow vertically. The good news is that both kinds of this plant are equally as attractive to hummingbirds and have almost identical growing requirements. 

And the name confusion doesn’t stop there! Dipladenia’s common name is rocktrumpet, and you may also find it being called Brazilian jasmine. This can cause mix-ups with similarly named plants, but if you find you’ve brought the ‘wrong’ plant don’t worry – many of these plants such as trumpet vine and jasmine are also loved by hummingbirds!

So, are hummingbirds attracted to Dipladenia?

Yes, very much so! Dipladenias have beautiful flowers which are rich in nectar – the main food of hummingbirds that rely on this sugary plant fluid to give them enough energy for their rapid movements. And the hummingbirds repay the plant for providing this by pollinating it as they move from flower to flower, helping it to reproduce!

The blossoms of Dipladenias are particularly attractive to hummingbirds because, as their common name “rocktrumpet” suggests, their softly scented flowers are trumpet-shaped. As hummingbirds have developed long pointed beaks and tube-shaped tongues to allow them to feed on nectar deep in the heart of flowers, the shape of Dipladenia blooms means that these gorgeous little birds can easily sip from them on the wing.

Dipladenia flowers come in a variety of colors: red, pink, orange, violet, and white. As hummingbirds rely primarily on their vision to identify flowers to feed on, this makes Dipladenia ideal for attracting them to your garden.

And Dipladenia can add a secret weapon to your quest to create the perfect yard for hummingbirds: in a suitable climate, it has a very long flowering period, meaning that it can provide food for them from spring  all the way through winter.

How do I grow Dipladenia for hummingbirds?

Dipladenia requires six to eight hours of direct sunlight a day, so if you’re adding it to your yard to attract hummingbirds you’ll need to put it in a sunny spot. That said, if you live somewhere extremely hot you may find it benefits from some light shade for part of the day to avoid scorching.

Your Dipladenia plant will prefer well-draining soil and need a consistent level of moisture with extra water during the hot summer months. You may find it helpful to add a layer of mulch to maintain these water levels in warmer weather. Be sure not to over-water it, though, to be sure that root rot doesn’t set in. And while you’re thinking about water, make sure that you also provide a bird bath for your hummingbird friends! Adding a solar pump to your birdbath will help encourage hummingbirds: although they get most of their water from the nectar they drink, they like to bathe by flying through the spray from moving water to rinse the sugary, sticky nectar off their feathers.

Are there downsides to growing Dipladenia for hummingbirds?

While hummingbirds love Dipladenia for its nectar-bearing flowers, it does have some qualities that might put some gardeners off adding it to their hummingbird garden.

Being a tropical plant, Dipladenia struggles to survive in colder climates and may require lifting and bringing into the house or at least storing in a greenhouse, basement, or garage over the winter. If you live in a cooler area, particularly somewhere where the temperature plummets at night, it’s best to grow your Dipladenia in a container so that you can bring it inside in the cold season and make sure that it will flourish to attract more hummingbirds next year. Alternatively, you can take cuttings earlier in the year to replant after the cold weather passes – Dipladenia is also happy as a houseplant that you can enjoy all year round.

Dipladenia, like its cousins in the Mandevilla family, can also be prone to diseases and pests such as southern wilt and oleander aphids. But don’t panic: the hummingbirds attracted to your Dipladenia by its beautiful flowers can also help defend the plant against six-legged pests, as they supplement their diet of nectar with soft-bodied insects like aphids and whitefly. In fact, as well as being high in protein, the aphids’ diet gives them a sweet flavor which is particularly popular with hummingbirds!

It’s also worth remembering that many species in this family contain an irritating latex sap in their stems, so be careful when pruning and be sure to wear gloves!

Is Dipladenia worth growing?

As you can see, the downsides to growing Dipladenia are far outweighed by its value in attracting hummingbirds and generally improving the appearance of your garden and home with its gorgeous exotic flowers. If you live in a warmer climate or don’t mind bringing your Dipladenia inside at night, these tropical beauties might be just the flower you’re looking for to brighten up your hummingbird garden.

About author
Rachel Verkade studied wildlife biology at McGill University, and now spends most of her time walking in the woods and watching the birds that come to her many backyard feeders. She also dabbles in wildlife photography (whenever things will hold still). She writes part time for Wild Yards about any and all types of wildlife that visit our back yards.

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