Catharanthus pusillus (Murray) G.Don
Tiny Periwinkle, Tiny Vinca
Lochnera pusilla, Vinca parviflora, Vinca pusilla
Bloom Time: July to August
Catharanthus pusillus is a small annual herb with several erect quadrangular branches spreading from the base. It grows up to 8 inches (20 cm) tall. Leaves are oppositely arranged, lance-shaped with rough margins, and up to 3.2 inches (8 cm) long. The leaf base narrows to a tiny stalk. Flowers are white, periwinkle-like, and appear in the upper leaf axils, singly or in pairs. They are small, flat, up to 0.3 inches (8 mm) across, and have five petals. The seed pods are very slender, straight, pointed, and up 2 inches (5 cm) long.
USDA hardiness zone 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Madagascar Periwinkle is native to Madagascar but is cultivated and naturalized in most tropical and warmer climates in the United States. It can be found in various woodland, forest, and grassland locales, but one of its primary uses is a bedding plant in highway medians or commercial landscapes. Madagascar Periwinkle also makes a striking clumping plant for home gardens as ground cover, in beddings or edgings, or containers.
Unlike many other plants, Madagascar Periwinkle is best suited for poor, well-drained soil and may even fail to thrive in soils that are too fertile. These plants need regular moisture but don't do well with overhead watering. Madagascar Periwinkle is easily propagated with semi-ripe cuttings planted in light compost with bottom heat and high humidity or by seeds kept in the dark at 71 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (22 to 25 degrees Celsius) until germination. The leaves may curl during the heat of the day but recover with evening dew. The flowers drop off after blooming and don't require deadheading.
This species is native to India.
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