Periwinkles

Multicolored periwinkle flowersThere's good news for gardeners who love periwinkles—new varieties make gardening with these beautiful annuals easier than ever. Also called vincas, these heat-tolerant flowering plants can add a nice pop of color in the summer.

Periwinkle (Catharanthus roseusis) is a warm season annual that grows from seven to twenty-four inches high and wide. It may have a carpet-like or an upright growth habit. The leaves are glossy green and the pinwheel-like flowers form a colorful mound in white, pinks, reds, or bi-colors.

Traditionally, periwinkles in Florida have suffered from several disease problems. But periwinkles in the new Cora™ and Nirvana™ series offer increased disease resistance over the older varieties. If given proper care, they'll flower throughout the summer with beautiful blooms in apricot, burgundy, pink, lavender, violet, or white.

Plant your periwinkles where they'll receive full sun, either in-ground or in a container. Once established, water these Florida-Friendly plants only as needed. Periwinkles like to be kept on the dry side and the roots will rot if irrigated too frequently. Although they're officially considered perennials, perwinkles rarely thrive beyond a summer, due to frost or fungal disease.

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