Vinca is also popularly known as Madagascar periwinkle or myrtle. These flowering plants look beautiful and have attractive shiny and green foliage and delicate-looking flowers. Vinca flowers bloom during the entire summer and till the frost. They are also easy to grow and care for flowers.
How to Take Care of a Vinca Plant?
There are around 12 flower types of vinca from which you can choose. There are some white-colored vinca which have different colors at the center like pink or dark red. Other varieties of vinca come in maroon, red, pink, and blue colors. There is another interesting variety of vinca, which has off-white petals which are curved. So, order the variety online or visit your local nursery. If you are buying a vinca plant from the nursery, check that the plant does not have any yellowing on the leaves.
Choosing the Site
Select a place where the plant will get the most light like near the sunniest window. Alternatively, you can also use a fluorescent light garden, if sunny window sills are not available. Make sure the temperature is maintained around 70º F or higher. You can start by sowing the seeds about 10 - 12 weeks before the last frost in spring time.
Use shallow containers or flat trays for container gardening. Add the seed starting mix to the soil and sow the seeds with 3 - 4 seeds in one cell; cover the seeds with ¼ of the seed starting mix, and spray some water to moisten the soil surface and settle the seeds, and cover the containers with plastic cling film. Maintain the seeds in total darkness till they germinate. You can place a black cover on the container to get best results. The seeds will germinate within 2 weeks, then remove all the covers and move them to the sunniest places.
Water and Fertilizer
Vinca can tolerate drought conditions, so don't over water and use water only when the planting medium dries (as vinca is drought tolerant). Avoid overfeeding the vinca plant and fertilize only after 10 days of seed germination. For fertilizer buy a water-soluble fertilizer which is low in phosphorus content and has good nitrogen from a source of ammonium nitrate. When the seedlings have grown 2 inches tall, then trim them. Transplant them to individual pots when they reach 3 inches height and make sure they get good air circulation. Fertilize them again in two weeks.
Growing Vinca Plants
Make sure the new pots have good drainage and slightly acidic soil, which has a soil pH level between 6 to 6.5. Use rich soil and add perlite to have good drainage. If you are growing vinca in the garden to use them as a border, then make sure you mulch the soil around the plants. Keep fertilizing every month with a water-soluble fertilizer and water moderately when the plants become well established in the garden soil.
Pests and Problems
Many times over watering can cause fungal infection problems to the vinca plant. So, consider installing a drip irrigation system to avoid these problems. Pest will rarely bother the vinca plant or its flowers; in case there are any pests on the plant use a hard spray and wash them away with water.
These were the instructions on growing and caring of the vinca plant. A well maintained plant will provide you with beautiful vinca flowers, which will really help beautify your garden. So, choose the right variety of vinca/periwinkle and enjoy these pretty flowers the whole summer!