Find late summer color with flowering vinca | Home & Garden
By Gary R. Bachman
Coastal Research & Extension Center
By the time August arrives, everyone wants to find a durable, colorful plant, and one of my favorites is the annual flowering vinca.
Annual flowering vinca has dark green, glossy foliage with a prominent rib in the middle. The foliage color makes a great background for the outstanding flower colors. These colors range from white to dark red, some with dark or white eyes. Botanically speaking, annual flowering vinca is Catharanthus rosea, but some garden centers may label it Madagascar periwinkle.
An exciting new color has been introduced this year. Chosen as an All-America Selection for 2012, Jams ‘N Jellies have velvety flowers that are a deep, dark purple. The nearly black flowers have a bright white eye.
Annual flowering vinca is a solid performer in our Mississippi gardens and landscapes. It was selected a Mississippi Medallion winner in 2007 because of its garden and landscape performance, and I always make sure to plant them at my home.
The Titan series certainly lives up to its name. Titan has an upright growth habit and makes a statement: it can grow 16 inches tall and 12 inches wide. The 3-inch flowers are the biggest of the annual flowering vinca, and 11 flower colors are available.
I’m really excited about the spreading growth habits of the newer varieties. The colorful groundcover mats are always welcome in my landscape.
For the best landscape performance and flower color, always plant in the full sun. To help to ensure landscape success, plant in raised beds to increase drainage around the root system. Annual flowering vinca do not like wet feet and will develop root rot.
These plants are heavy feeders, so be sure to incorporate a quality, slow-release fertilizer at planting time. Monthly feedings with a water-soluble 20-20-20 or 20-10-20 will keep those flowers blooming.
Annual flowering vinca are drought-tolerant once established, but you should still maintain consistent soil moisture. Always provide supplemental water during the dry periods we have every summer.
Annual flowering vinca can tolerate hot and dry conditions, making them good choices for container plantings. If you plant in hanging baskets, try the plants with spreading growth habits so they can spill out over the basket’s edge. If you grow them in containers, always use a quality peat-based potting media that is well drained and will maintain adequate moisture. Weekly feeding with water-soluble fertilizer will be required when grown in the potting mixes in containers.