Madagascar Periwinkle, Periwinkle, or Vinca
(Apocynaceae - Dogbane Family)
- small herbaceous annual
- those bred for annual beds often mature at about 12" tall by 8" wide, while those bred for groundcover form may mature at 6" tall by 24" wide
- upright mat to procumbent mat growth habit
- full sun to partial sun
- prefers a moist, well-drained soil of average fertility, but tolerates dry soils, poor soils, heat, and drought
- propagated primarily by seeds, but occasionally by rooted stem cuttings
- Dogbane Family, with no serious disease or pest problems
- abundantly available in flats or seed packets
- foliage will curl during the heat of the day when under Summer drought stress, but will recover with the appearance of the evening dew
- plants will not grow or bloom well during cool conditions, excessive irrigation or rainfall, or excessive soil fertility
- glossy medium to dark green oblong leaves are brightly lustrous like no other annual, oppositely arranged, to 3" long
- available in several of the cooler colors, from white with a small red center, mauve or pink with a darkened center, or solid colors of rose-purple, lavender, pink, salmon, or white
- five-petaled and pin-wheel like, each petal somewhat rhombic, with the
corolla fused at the base of each of the five petals
- flowering from June until frost
- ornamentally inconspicuous
- ID Summary
- super-glossy, dark green, opposite and oblong 3" long foliage shines throughout the Summer on this short annual, topped by white, pink, or mauve solitary flowers, often with a darker eye, with the medium green stems upright to procumbent, to 1' tall; excellent as both a foliage and flowering annual
- annual for edgings, beds, or planters
- medium texture
- thick density
- lustrous dark green foliage
- tidy appearance
- terminal white, pink, or mauve solitary pinwheel flowers contrast well above the glossy dark green foliage
- thrives in the heat and humidity of Summer (although the leaves will sometimes roll up during the day)
- sensitive to cool or wet weather, or high fertility soils (delays or stops flowering)
- annual that dies after several frosts
- native to Madagascar and India
- annuals with attractive foliage (Amaranthus, Begonia, Caladium, Canna, Coleus, etc.)
- annuals that are very heat, humidity, and drought tolerant (Petunia x hybrida, Tagetes patula, Zinnia angustifolia, etc.)
- Catharanthus roseus cultivars are bred for floral traits (such as the popular 'Cooler Series') and/or plant growth habit (such as the compact 'Little Series')
- Catharanthus translates as "pure flower".
- roseus refers to the "rose-colored" flowers of some types.
- this annual is sometimes listed by the old scientific name of Vinca rosea, and its solitary flowers resemble those of the Spring-blooming groundcover Vinca minor.
- Madagascar Periwinkle is an excellent annual for its glossy dark green foliage and Summer-long bloom during heat, humidity, and drought.
- Catharanthus roseus is known as a heat-thriving annual with small attractive white, salmon, mauve, pink, lavender, rose-purple, or bicolor flowers held atop its lustrous dark green foliage.
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