September 9, 2018
One summer annual that just can’t be beat is flowering vinca. This is one tough plant that’s perfect for our Mississippi summers. Botanically speaking annual flowering vinca is Catharanthus rosea. For our summer landscapes it doesn’t matter what you call it, just plant it! Annual flowering vinca has foliage with a prominent rib in the middle of the glossy dark green leaves. The foliage color makes a great background for the outstanding flower colors. Vinca is available in many series with both upright and spreading growing habits. But my current favorite is the Cora flowering vinca because of their improved disease resistance and superior landscape performance. Upright Cora will grow about 12 inches tall and 15 to 18 inches wide. Flower colors include white, violet, strawberry, red, punch and lavender. Cora Cascade has a spreading habit. This plant will sprawl up to 36 inches wide with plentiful flowers in colors of strawberry, polka dot, peach blush, cherry and lilac. When mass planted Cora Cascade looks like a multi-colored floral carpet in the landscape. Vinca are heavy feeders and the leaves will start to yellow when the plants are hungry. Monthly feedings with a water soluble fertilizer will keep those leaves green and flowers blooming. Vinca are drought tolerant once established, but need consistent soil moisture. Always mulch and provide supplemental water during those dry periods we have every summer season. I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman and I’ll see you next time on Southern Gardening.