Catharanthus pusillus (Tiny Periwinkle)

Scientific Name

Catharanthus pusillus (Murray) G.Don

Common Names

Tiny Periwinkle, Tiny Vinca


Lochnera pusilla, Vinca parviflora, Vinca pusilla

Scientific Classification

Family: Apocynaceae
Genus: Catharanthus


Color: White
Bloom Time: July to August


Catharanthus pusillus is a small annual herb up to 8 inches (20 cm) tall, with several erect, quadrangular branches spreading from the base. Leaves are oppositely arranged, lance-shaped, up to 3.2 inches (8 cm) long, with a rough margin. The leaf base narrows to a tiny stalk. Flowers are white, periwinkle-like, and appear singly or in pairs, in the upper leaf axils. They are small, up to 0.3 inches (8 mm) across, flat, with five petals. The seed pods are very slender, up 2 inches (5 cm) long, straight, and pointed.

Catharanthus pusillus (Tiny Periwinkle)
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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 in 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. See more at How to Grow and Care for Madagascar Periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus).


Native to India.


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