I need advice about a Dipladenia that I bought today. I actually thought that it was a type of Mandevilla, until I got it home and Googled the name. It is in the same family, and needs the same type of care. But, I can't find specific info online about my main concern.

It has roots sprouting out of the stems at the lower knobs. Some of them are more than two inches above the soil. It is obviously root bound, but seems healthy. (I did pluck off some yellow leaves before taking pics.) I am wondering whether I am supposed to bury these upper roots. I don't know if they are "air roots" like my orchids have, or it they are runner roots that are seeking soil. I don't know whether to plant this deeper than it is now to accommodate some of these these roots, or whether to just let them breathe. Or maybe I should just plant it in a wider pot with the soil slightly higher that it is now, and just try to make cuttings from those rooty stems? I did have a happy Mandevilla years ago, and it did not have these rooty stems. But, it was also in a huge pot. (And, it was not Dipladenia, either. lol)

I am wondering if the red plastic pot in the pics would work for now, or if I need to try something wider. I don't usually buy plants without a plan. But, for $4.99, I just couldn't resist this beauty. I live in Norfolk, Virginia, USA, and will have to overwinter it indoors. The soup can is only in the one pic because it happened to be handy to use for size reference.

Update: I transplanted it as suggested. I added a pic of the rootbound roots after I cut the pot off, and a pic of it in the new pot. The other pot cracked when I tried drilling holes in the bottom, but this one should be big enough, for now.

Dipladenia with soupDipladenia rootsDipladenia[DipladeniarootboundDipladenia

1 Answer 1


This plant is desperate for more root room - the adventitious aerial roots it's producing are a stress response; a desperate attempt to try to find something else to root into so it can get larger.

If the pot you show in your last picture is at least one inch bigger all round and below the size of the current rootball, then yes, you can use that pot. If it isn't, get a bigger pot. You should not bury the upper roots, just leave them alone - once your plant realises it has more room to expand below the soil, they will either just stop growing or may shrivel up.

It may need potting on into something a bit bigger again this year, but you can check that by turning it out of its pot in, say, 3-6 months; if not, plan on potting up a size next spring or early summer.

  • @Bamboo- Thank you for your advice. It's kind of funny that you used the word "desperate" to describe those roots. That is exactly how I described them to my boyfriend. I said I feel like these roots are desperately seeking soil (unlike my Orchid's air roots). But, I've never even heard of this plant. I might plant it in that pot tomorrow, because the only other ones that I have are way too big/deep, or too small. I see that people sometime grow these from cutting, and am still wondering if I should go that route, rather than letting the roots die off.
    – Diane
    May 30, 2017 at 2:25
  • That's funny Diane - you read the message the plant's sending out by instinct! Just repot it, not a good time to try to take cuttings while its in full flower, so maybe try cuttings later on when its got bigger in its new pot, though if you want to take just one stem with those roots and try that as a cutting, it wouldn't hurt. Pretty plant, despite its desperation...If you do try one stem, take any flowers and buds off the top so it concentrates on rooting into the soil rather than flowering
    – Bamboo
    May 30, 2017 at 9:59
  • Thank you Bamboo. I repotted it last night because I knew that otherwise I wouldn't be able to sleep. lol I'm actually surprised that it is in such great condition considering how root bound it was. It was light as a feather when I bought it. I had it in a bowl of water for a couple of hours before it absorbed enough water to stop trying to float. I'll hold off on the cuttings. I'll add a pic later of the roots after I cut the pot open. There was practically no dirt!
    – Diane
    May 30, 2017 at 15:26
  • Bamboo- I added pics. I cracked the other pot when I tried drilling holes in the bottom last night. This green one is slightly shorter, but wider. It should be fine, for now.
    – Diane
    May 30, 2017 at 18:55

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