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Information on Vinca Flowers

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Information on Vinca Flowers

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Overview

In partial sun to full shade with little or no attention, a vinca can thrive to make a garden colorful. Also known as Madagascar periwinkle or myrtle, it fits into a garden as a border, edging, ground cover or in a flower bed. Grown from seeds, indoor planting can occur 10 to 12 weeks before the final frost in the area. The plants will reseed themselves after a growing season if left unattended.

Colors

Until recent years, the range of flower colors was limited to pink or white, often with dark rose or red eyes. In the late 1900s and early 2000s, however, new varieties have appeared, expanding the colors to light blue, salmon, apricot, orchid, raspberry, crimson and burgundy.

Diseases and Pests

Fungal diseases like root rot can cause problems for vinca. The best way to prevent the diseases is to water with drip irrigation or directly from the hose onto the soil or mulch, never directly onto the plants. Aphids are a possible but unlikely pest problem. If detected, a hard spray of water from the hose will rid the plants of the pest. Deer and rabbits avoid vinca, so they are virtually pest resistant.

Watering

Vinca is a drought tolerant plant, so infrequent watering is all that's needed. In fact, unless there is a severe drought, there is no need to provide extra water after the plants get established.

History

Europeans, Indians, Chinese and Americans have cultivated vinca flowers for centuries. Europeans found the plant useful in treating diseases from colds and infections to diabetes. In the last century, researchers found that vinca plants contain alkaloids that lower blood sugar and blood pressure levels, according to the National Garden Bureau.

Fertilizing

The flowers bloom continuously from planting until frost. Vinca beds should be at least 8 inches deep with a 2-inch layer of planting mix, compost or other organic matter. Just before planting, add plant food or fertilizer containing all three primary nutrients. Once plants are established, another treatment with fertilizer will help develop healthy roots. Vinca enjoys summer heat, so there may be no need to fertilize plants a second time. The plant might need fertilizing if growth slows or older leaves turn yellow. Vincas planted in containers need fertilizer more often, perhaps about once a month.

Description

Vinca flowers are single, never double, with overlapping petals being more common in the modern varieties. The flower is typically rosy pink with a small mauve "eye" at the center. Usually growing 8 to 18 inches tall with a 1-foot spread, there are trailing varieties that spread up to 2 feet.

Keywords: vinca, vinca flowers, vinca colors, pests bothering vincas

About this Author

A lifetime New England resident, Sandi Hoffman has been writing for technology corporations since 1987. She has done work for Hewlett Packard, IBM, Comcast and many other Fortune 500 companies. Hoffman holds a master’s degree in American literature and an advanced degree in technical communications from Northeastern University.