Family: Rubiaceae

This genus of about 80 evergreen, twining plants originates from tropical America. They usually have simple, opposite leaves, sometimes toothed or fringed, and tube- or funnel-shaped flowers, borne either singly or in clusters. The flowers are usually red, pink or yellow, but sometimes bicoloured. They must be grown in an intermediate greenhouse in frost-prone climates.


M. cordifolia, firecracker vine, is a light, evergreen vine with heart-shaped to oblong leaves and bright red, solitary flowers which usually grow from the leaf axil.

M. lute­orubra (Synonym: M. bicolor), Brazilian firecracker, is an attractive, evergreen climber, to about 2 m (6 ft). It has opposite, tapering leaves and tubular, red flowers, tipped with yellow.


When pot grown under glass, use soil-based potting compost. Ensure maximum light, but provide shade from direct sun. In late winter, prune the side shoots back to within four buds of the main stems. Outdoors grow in full sun or partial shade with rich, well-drained soil. Propagate in spring from seed germinated at 18°C (64°F), or from semi-ripe cuttings in summer, with bottom heat.


At least zone 10.

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Climate zone map
Mandevilla      Mango