Vinca plant is a tropical perennial that is often planted as an annual in most climates. It features blooms and leaves that resemble impatiens, but rather than preferring shade, annual vinca is ideal for sunny settings.
These annual blooms, sometimes known as Madagascar periwinkle, aren’t newest or flashiest on gardening market, but recent cultivar advancements justify a closer look at this ubiquitous bedding plant. Horticulturists have worked hard to develop new hues in plants with stunning blooms that are easy to grow from seed.
If you haven’t used vinca in your garden in a while, you should have a look at the new color palette, which contains blossoms in every shade of pink, rose, and lilac. Whatever your preference, they are appealing to butterflies and resistant to rabbits.
Vinca plant is a flowering plant genus in the Apocynaceae family that is native to Europe, northwest Africa, and southwest Asia. Periwinkle shares the English name with the allied genus Catharanthus. Vinca is a perennial in USDA zones 9 through 11, but is planted as an annual in the majority of areas. The foliage is dark green and glossy, and the flowers have five petals.
The foliage is leathery and dark green. Vinca is 6 to 18 inches tall and spreads similarly according to the type. From early July until the first frost, annual vinca plants produce solitary flowers with five petals that commonly touch or overlap. Many types have a distinct eye.
This plant comes in a variety of colors, including red, purple, white, pink, and lavender. The core of certain kinds is pale or dark pink. Vinca grow 6-8 inches tall and 22-25 inches wide, depending on the cultivar. Vinca plants thrive in full sun to moderate shade and are ideal for garden borders, edging, ground cover or bedding plants, pots, or window boxes.
- Common Names: vinca, Madagascar periwinkle, rosy periwinkle
- Botanical Name: Catharanthus roseus
- Family: Apocynaceae
- Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial, usually grown as an annual.
- Mature Size: 6-18 in. tall, similar spread
- Sun Exposure: Full sun, part shade
- Soil Type: Sandy Loam
- Soil pH: 6.0–7.0
- Bloom Time: June to frost
- Flower Color: White, pink, mauve, red
- Hardiness Zones: 9–11 (USDA), grown as an annual elsewhere.
- Native Area: Madagascar
- Toxicity: toxic to cats, dogs, and people
Vinca Plant Species
Catharanthus roseus “Pacifica”: Catharanthus roseus “Pacifica Polka Dot,” for example may reach more than two feet in height and has bigger blooms with overlapping petals in hues ranging from white to pink and violet.
C. roseus “Mediterranean”: The “Mediterranean” series of annual vinca is a relatively new type that is well suited to window boxes, hanging baskets, and other containers since it is a low-growing trailing vine and a prolific spreader that may branch out up to two feet in width.
Catharanthus roseus “Tropicana”: Annual vinca plants of the “Tropicana Series” bloom early and have huge, spherical blooms. Plants in this series can grow as tall as 15 inches or as short as an inch, depending on the cultivar.
How To Grow Vinca Plant
Vinca maintenance often entails keeping this prolific spreader under control. Once planted, periwinkle is drought-tolerant and requires little extra maintenance if correctly sited in the landscape.
This Vinca plant maintenance after planting may necessitate the eradication of tall weeds in the surrounding region. Growing vinca will likely shade out future weed growth and remove this work once established. The periwinkle plant thrives in a variety of sunlight and soil conditions and grows best in a slightly shaded region with acidic soil.
Vinca grows more vigorously when grown in partial shade. Extreme vigor may not be desirable in many cases, unless the vinca plant has to cover a huge area. A single little plant can grow to be 8 feet wide.
Vinca are a self-cleaning plant, thus deadheading is not required. You can pinch the plant back if you want a fuller appearance. Pinching refers to the removal of new growth at the tips of branches so that the plant does not become lanky.
Periwinkle plants grow quickly from seed. After all, the optimal time to sow its seeds is after the risk of frost has passed. These plants develop on their own after being seeded. So decide where you want to place it. Start inside around 2 to 3 weeks before the final frost. Rooting cuttings can also be used to disseminate certain types.
Vinca Plant Care
Don’t hurry to grow vinca in the spring. Plants planted too early in cold, damp soil will perform poorly; a good bet is to plant vines at the same time you plant tomato transplants: when nighttime temperatures average 60 degrees Fahrenheit. full sun is preferable, some afternoon shadow is acceptable, especially in hot southern areas.
Vinca grows well on a sandy loam soil with full sun. Although drought resilient, it does best with weekly water soak rather than sprayed from above. Vinca are self-cleaning and self-flowering, so no deadheading is required.
This is one of the easiest annual flowers to grow since it has few major disease or pest concerns. Stem rot and leaf spots can arise in poorly draining soil. Slugs and snails may eat the leaves as well.
Soil and Fertilizer
Periwinkle cultivars may handle a wide range of soil conditions. While compost-rich soil is desirable, certain periwinkles may tolerate low soil conditions. In either scenario, proper drainage is essential for periwinkle growth.
Periwinkles respond well to fertilizers that include an equal amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Fertilize your periwinkle once a month to increase the brightness of the leaves and the growth of the blooms.
Light and Water
Periwinkle plants thrive in partial sun or moderate shade. To keep your periwinkle growing at a healthy rate, avoid excessive full-sun exposure. The hot afternoon sun may scorch your plants.
Maintain a moist but not soggy soil. Periwinkles in their mature state can tolerate brief dry spells and are drought-resistant. Plants that receive too much moisture are susceptible to fungus infections. Instead of watering the leaves, irrigate the soil directly to avoid this.
Temperature and Humidity
Although it is a long-lived plant, it is susceptible to a variety of illnesses, particularly in humid, moist areas. They are fully frost intolerant, so if you want to bring them in for the winter, bring them in when night temperatures dip below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pests and Disease
Vinca is susceptible to a variety of fungal diseases, including leaf spot, botrytis blight, and root rot. These issues arise as a result of wetness and a lack of ventilation. This issue is readily resolved by thinning out plants, cutting away any damaged leaves with a clean, sharp garden shear, and applying a fungicide.
If the leaves on your annual vinca are browning and wilting, plant is probably getting too much water. Insert your finger into the soil. Yellowing, withered leaves indicate an excess of moisture, which is easily remedied.
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