This plant is related to the blue-flowered periwinkles, Vinca spp., but produces white, pale violet, or pink star-shaped flowers with a deeper- colored throat. The oval leaves are bright green and shiny, and flowers are produced in profusion at the tips of the stems.
This periwinkle forms a rounded, shrubby plant with a flowering season that lasts for the whole of the summer into fall.
Catharanthus roseus aroused much interest some years ago when its wild form was found to produce a drug useful in the treatment of leukemia. It is not demanding and is available at garden centers in spring. It fairly easy to raise from seed and can be a good outdoor annual.
Shiny, healthy-looking oval leaves have a light-colored midrib.
Star-shaped flowers, with slightly reflexing petals, are about lin/2.5cm across and are often carried in large numbers.
Seedlings produce the healthiest, most free- flowering plants.
A well-grown plant can quickly fill the a5-in/13-cm pot. Repot as necessary to keep the plant growing strongly.
HEIGHT About 10in/25cm.
POTTING MIX Soil or soil-based medium.
PROPAGATION Sow seed in a warm sheltered spot in late winter or early spring, or in a warm greenhouse in winter. Soft-tip cuttings can be taken in spring and early summer.
REPOTTING Move vigorous plants into pots one size larger as necessary.
Catharanthus Roseus Apocynaceae MADAGASCAR PERIWINKLE PLANT CARE
- Bright light with some direct sun will encourage good flowering.
- Moderate warmth with a minimum temperature of about 60°F/16°C.
- Keep the soil moist throughout the flowering period and mist the leaves occasionally.
- Apply a standard liquid fertilizer every 10 to 14 days.