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Catharanthus roseus

  • Common Name: Periwinkle (other common names: Madagascar Periwinkle, Vinca, Rose Periwinkle, Cayene Jasmine and Old Maid).
  • Scientific Name: Catharanthus roseus
  • Family Name: Apocynaceae
  • Origin: Madagascar
  • Height: 1’-2’
  • Width: 1’-2’
  • Growth: Moderate        
  • Zone: 9B - 11
  • Light Needs: Partial shade to partial sun.
  • Salt Tolerance: High
  • Soil/PH/Texture: Best grown in clay, loam and sandy soil, acidic – slightly alkaline.
  • Soil Moisture: Likes to be kept on the dry side and the roots will rot if irrigated too frequently.
  • Drought Tolerance: High
  • Pests/Diseases: Sensitive to one or more pests or diseases which can affect plant health or aesthetics but no pests or diseases of major concern. If soil is too wet, it can cause Fusarium wilt and can cause plant death. Several fungi cause leaf spots on periwinkle but they are usually harmless.
  • Growing Conditions: Prefers moderately fertile, well-draining soil.  Periwinkle plants develop yellow leaves if grown under too hot, or too bright of conditions.
  • Characteristics: This evergreen has leaves that are deciduous, green blades that are about 2”-4” in length, opposite/subopposite arrangement, simple, entire, and elliptic (oval) shape. This year-round bloomer has showy, pink, purple, lavender, red, white and other variations of colored flowers.
  • Propagation: May seed itself every year otherwise it is propagated by seed or softwood cuttings.
  • Wildlife: Attracts butterflies.
  • Facts: Derivatives from periwinkle are used in a variety of medicines and treatments for human ailments including leukemia and Hodgkin’s disease. Although it is a medicinal herb, its leaves, roots and fruit are poisonous.
  • Designer Considerations: Edging, ground cover, mass planting, naturalizing, hanging baskets, cascading down a wall, borders, and xeriscaping.


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