Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don
Madagascar Periwinkle, Periwinkle, Rosy Periwinkle, Teresita, Annual Vinca
Vinca rosea, Ammocallis rosea, Catharanthus roseus var. roseus, Hottonia littoralis, Lachnea rosea, Lochnera rosea, Pervinca rosea, Vinca gulielmi-waldemarii, Vinca speciosa
Color: White to dark pink with a darker red center
Bloom Time: From summer to frost
Catharanthus roseus is an evergreen subshrub or herbaceous plant that grows up to 3.3 feet (1 m) tall. Leaves are glossy green, hairless, with a pale midrib and an up to 0.7 inches (1.8 cm) long petiole. They are oval to oblong, up to 3.6 inches (9 cm) long and 2 inches (3.5 cm) wide, and arranged in opposite pairs. Flowers are white to dark pink with a darker red center, a basal up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) long tube, and a corolla with five petal-like lobes and up to 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter. Fruits are a pair of up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) long follicles.
How to Grow and Care
Madagascar Periwinkle is native to Madagascar but is cultivated and naturalized in the most tropical world 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.
Native to Madagascar, but grown elsewhere as an ornamental and medicinal plant. It is a source of the drugs vincristine and vinblastine, used to treat cancer.
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