Catharanthus roseus or vinca, sometimes known as the “Rose Periwinkle,” is a hardy annual that blooms in shades of pink, white, red, salmon or purple. If you live in a USDA plant hardiness zone 9 or higher, you can grow this plant as a perennial. There isn’t a lot of difficulty in collecting vinca seeds from mature plants, but starting an annual vinca from seed is more difficult.
How to Gather Vinca Seeds?
Look for long, slender, green seedpods hiding on stems underneath flowering blooms when gathering vinca seeds. When the petals fall from the blossoms and the pods turn from yellow to brown, snip or pinch the pods. Keep a close eye on the plant. The seeds will fall out of the pods if you wait too long. Keep them in a warm, dry area by putting the pods in a paper bag. After a few days, shake the bag daily to ensure the pods are totally dry before putting them away. As an alternative, you can place the pods in a shallow pan and let them out in the sun until they are totally dry. The seeds can be removed from the dried pods when they’ve driest. In a paper envelope, keep the seeds in a cool, dry place that is well-ventilated. Vinca seeds require a period of dormancy to germinate, therefore freshly obtained seeds frequently fail.
Indoor Seed Sowing:
- Plant vinca 12-15 weeks before the last expected frost date indoors.
- Apply 1/8 of an inch of seed-starting formula to the seeds before covering them.
- Keep the seeds damp, but not wet, to avoid damaging them.
- Seedlings emerge about 14-21 days at a temperature of 75-78 F.
- A sunny windowsill or seedlings 3-4 inches under fluorescent plant lights that are on for 16 hours a day and off for 8 hours at night will offer ample light as soon as seedlings emerge. As the plants get taller, raise the lights. Because incandescent lights get so hot, they won’t be able to be used in this operation. Do not leave the lights on 24 hours a day for most plants.
- Plants only need a small amount of fertilizer when they are 3-4 weeks old. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use a starting solution (half strength of an indoor houseplant food).
- When seedlings have at least two pairs of true leaves, you may need to transplant them to 3 or 4 inch pots before transplanting them to the garden so that they have enough room to develop robust root systems.
- Hardening off” seedlings is an important step before planting them in the garden. Moving the young seedlings outside for a week is a good way to get them used to the outdoors. For the first several days, keep them out of the direct sunlight and wind. Cover or bring containers indoors if there is a risk of frost at night, then bring them back out in the morning. Transplant shock and scorching are reduced thanks to the hardening off process, which strengthens the plant’s cell structure.
Gardening: How to Get Started
- Choose a spot in full sun with rich, moist organic, well-drained soil that is well drained.
- Remove any rubbish from the soil and softly rake the bed so that it is as flat as possible before planting.
- All gardens benefit from the addition of organic matter (leaf mold, compost, well-rotted manure), but newly developed neighborhoods require it.
- Plant in the afternoon or on a cloudy day to minimize the effects of transplant shock.
- Large enough to accommodate the root ball should be dug for each plant around 8-10 inches apart.
- Remove the plant from its pot and carefully remove the root ball with your hands.
- Set the root ball’s apex at the same level as the soil around it. To the top of the root ball, add soil. Your hand should be firmly pressed down on the dirt.
- As a location marker, place the plant tag on the ground.
- There is plenty of water.
How to Grow
- During the growth season, keep weeds under control. By cultivating frequently or using mulch to prevent the seeds of weeds from sprouting, you may keep your garden free of weeds.
- Soil moisture retention and temperature uniformity are two more benefits of mulching. An organic mulch of shredded leaves provides a natural look to the bed and improves the soil as it decomposes over time for annuals. Mulches should never be placed on a plant’s stems in order to prevent rot.
- In the growing season, plants require roughly 1 inch of rain every week.. To determine if you need to add more water, use a rain gauge. It’s better to use a low-pressure drip or trickle irrigation system for watering your lawn. Water early in the day using overhead sprinklers so that the foliage may dry out before nightfall and avoid sickness. Make sure the dirt isn’t very wet, but not soggy.
- Some protection from severe winds and direct sunshine may be required until the plants are established. It’s also critical to have good circulation of air in your home.
- A mild fertilizer can be administered after new growth appears. Protect the plant’s crown and foliage from burn injury by keeping granular fertilizers out of the growing area. To prevent root rots, use modest rates of slow release fertilizer.
- Remove spent flower heads to ensure that plants continue to bloom until the end of the summer.
- Keep an eye out for bugs and infections. For pest management recommendations in your area, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service.
- In the fall, remove plants that have been killed by frost in order to minimize disease problems the following year.
- In full sun or light shade, Vinca is a dependable annual plant for beds and borders.
- It’s perfect for edging or as an annual groundcover because of its regular growth and compact stature.
- Vinca can also be used in containers, such as window boxes.
- Once established, plants are heat and drought resistant.
- Vinca is prone to withering when there is a lack of water.
When to Plant Annual Vinca Seeds
When it’s three to four months before the last seasonal frost, start your vinca seeds indoors from seed. Vinca seeds need total darkness to germinate, so cover the seeds with a damp newspaper before placing them in the tray. Sow the seeds in an area with an average temperature of about 176 F. (27 C.). Remove the newspaper from the tray as soon as the seedlings are visible – usually between two to nine days. Move the seedlings to a room with a temperature of at least 75 degrees Fahrenheit and plenty of direct sunlight at this phase (24 C.).
Common Disease Problems
On the upper surface of the leaves and along the midrib, small, circular reddish brown dots with white to grey centers appear. The stems may wilt as a result of the lesions. Heat and humidity might worsen this condition. Avoid getting water on the foliage, advises Burpee. Remove diseased sections of the plant and avoid working around damp ones. Make sure there is a lot of ventilation. For fungicide suggestions, speak with your local Cooperative Extension Service.
Flowers, leaves, stems, and buds can be affected by Botrytis, a fungus that produces a gray mold. It thrives in rainy, chilly temperatures. Watering during the night is discouraged and watering directly on the plant is discouraged, according to Burpee. Make certain that the plants are well ventilated. For fungicide suggestions, speak with your local Cooperative Extension Service.
Root Rots: Seedlings and mature roots can be affected by a variety of diseases. Don’t plant the same type of crop in the same place for numerous years, Burpee advises Infected plants should be removed and disposed of. The soil should be well-drained. For further information, talk to the people at your local Cooperative Extension Service.
Virus: Leaf mottling that is tight and dark green is the most common symptom of virus. Bunching of young leaves is possible. Stunted, yellowed young plants are not uncommon. As Burpee points out, it’s easy to carry this illness from one person to another. The plants on either side of the pathogens should be removed and destroyed.
Infestation and Cultural Issues
When aphids feed on the undersides of leaves, they can spread illness and contaminate the plant. They leave behind a sticky residue that attracts ants to a plant’s leaf. Natural predators such as lady beetles and wasps that feed on aphids should be introduced or attracted to your garden. Another option is to use an insecticidal soap or a powerful spray to get rid of the insects.
Scale: Small insects appear as brown, black, gray, or white bumps on plant stems. It’s possible that the scale has no discernible legs and doesn’t move. Scales are equipped with a sucking mouth. A honeydew-producing scale may cause leaves and stems to become goopy. When the plant is infested with scales, it will develop very slowly and may even wilt by day’s end. To get rid of bugs, Burpee suggests spraying the stems with Insecticidal soap completely. The County Extension Service in your area should be contacted in the event of a significant infestation.
Tiny spider-like bugs, the size of a grain of pepper, are known as spider mites. They come in a variety of colors, including red, black, brown, and yellow. Toxins and chlorophyll are removed from the plant’s fluids and white spots appear on the leaf. The plant has a lot of webbing on it. They turn the leaf yellow and stippled, causing it to dry out. They thrive in dry circumstances and proliferate swiftly. In the opinion of Burpee, Every other day, a strong spray can help control spider mites. To repel insects, use insecticidal soap or hot pepper wax. If you need advice on which miticides to use, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service.
Insects and grubs of the Vine Weevil prey on the roots of plants, occasionally resulting in the plant’s death. About 5/16 inch length adults have dirty yellow markings on their wing cases and are dull black. The grubs have light brown heads and a c-shape, measuring 3/8 inches in length. Burpee suggests that adults be hand-picked at night and the plants shaken over newspaper to loosen the insects. To find them during the day, look under pots. Pesticide recommendations can be obtained from your local Cooperative Extension Service.
Whenever plants are disturbed or brushed against, tiny white flies emerge from the ground and form a cloud. Burpee recommends that you use pesticides to keep them under control. To repel insects, use insecticidal soap or hot pepper wax. Pesticide recommendations can be obtained from your local Cooperative Extension Service.
Is vinca a biennial or an annual plant? Are there any differences in appearance between this and the ground? Unlike the perennial evergreen groundcover, vinca is an annual plant. Catharanthus is the genus of the annual, and Vinca is the genus of the perennial. Despite their resemblance in appearance, these two plants are not related. After the first freeze of the season, Catharanthus continues to bloom until it is dormant for the next year.
Is vinca susceptible to downy mildew? Vinca, unlike impatiens, does not develop downy mildew, making it a popular choice among gardeners looking to brighten up shady spots.
Is it possible to grow vinca in a pot? Definitely, they’re a great fit.
Whether or if vinca attracts pollinators is an open question. Bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds are all attracted to these flowers, therefore yes, they are beneficial to the environment.