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Catharanthus roseus (photo courtesy of Laura Dunkin-Hubby)
Catharanthus roseus (photo courtesy of Laura Dunkin-Hubby)

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Zones 1-45, H1, H2
Full SunPartial Sun
Full, Partial
Regular WaterMinimal Water
Moderate, Minimal

Catharanthus roseus

Madagascar Periwinkle
Annuals, Evergreen, Perennials

Madagascar periwinkle grows to 1–2 ft. tall and comes in mounding and trailing forms. It excels at producing summer-to-fall color in hot climates, and keeps flowering through Thanksgiving if weather stays mild. Glossy green, 1–3-in.-long leaves cover a bushy plant 1–2 ft. tall and wide; 1 1/2-in. flowers come in white, white with a rose or red eye, apricot, cherry, pink, and bright rose. Lives over, if a bit ragged, in frost-free areas. In desert regions, may also look poor in late summer. Self-sows. Provide good drainage and avoid overwatering.

The Cora series has mounding and trailing forms, many colors, and extra-long bloom; grows 14–16 in. tall. Pacifica and Cooler series are compact 15-in. plants with 2-in. flowers.

The Mediterranean series, featuring apricot, pink, rose, lilac, or white blooms, grows 5–6 in. high and can spread 2 1/2 ft. wide.

All types bloom the first season from seed sown early indoors or in a greenhouse or cold frame. The Tropicana series blooms in only 60 days from seed and bears blooms in shades of pink and coral on 1-ft. plants.

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