Vinca, also known as the Madagascar Periwinkle, is not the newest or flashiest of annual flowers, but at this year’s CA Spring Trials it looks like things have changed.  There was a new Vinca Tattoo Series that had a dark eye and it comes in a variety of colors such as Black Cherry, Papaya, Raspberry, and Tangerine.  It certainly has a “wow” factor that is making us take a new look at this flower.

Vinca plants have a single bloom with five petals. Vincas are known for their robust flowering, great colors and outstanding heat tolerance. If you have an open sunny spot in your garden consider adding some Vinca plants as they are fast growing and plentiful performers.  Since these plants are fairly maintenance free they do well in window boxes and other garden containers too. They mix well with other sun-loving flowers like lantanas, portulaca or Penta flowers.  As temperatures rise, you will see flower production increase on this flower. There are trailing and upright Vinca plants. Trailing Vincas look great when used in a hanging basket, while upright Vincas look best when in a mass planting or as a border.

The foliage on Vincas is emerald green. Many varieties of vincas have “an eye”. This means they have a color in the center of the bloom and petals either fade out or are a different color.  Typical flower colors are available in various shades of pink, red, white, lavender or purple.  A great way to bring out the contrasting eye of the Vinca is to pair it with a flower that matches the eye.  For instance, plant a white Vinca with a pink center with a pink Zinnia.

As previously mentioned Vincas are native to Madagascar, so summer heat is a must. For optimal performance, plant them in full sun in well-drained soil.  If you plant them in part sun/part shade make sure you have good air circulation. It could get too stuffy and then the plant can develop fungal problems.  Even if there is high humidity this plant will still thrive.  Vinca is drought tolerant, but if the leaves start to curl, then it needs some water. Water the plant at the base and not from overhead to prevent disease.  Fertilize you Vincas every two weeks to help keep the blooms going. Another plus of this flower is they require no deadheading.

With Vincas, you will have color in the garden from summer to fall. Vincas are annuals in hardiness zones 2 – 8 and in zones, 9-11 it is considered a short-lived perennial. If you want an unusual variety that is not found in a store try growing them from seed otherwise buy the plants from a nursery.  The new Tattoo variety is scheduled to be available in 2019.

Let us know if you have Vincas in your garden!

Photos courtesy of Jill Mazur

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