The Vinca rosea has many other names. You will also see it called the rose periwinkle, red periwinkle, old maid, cape periwinkle, Catharanthus roseus and cayenne jasmine. Another name for the plant is Madagascar periwinkle, a reference to its origin. Although there are many differences between the climates of Madagascar and the UK, it is possible to grow the plant in this country.
The Vinca rosea is a hot climate plant and not really suitable for outdoor growth in the UK. It can be cultivated as a houseplant, or in a greenhouse or conservatory. The plant needs to be kept warm; however, whether it has strong sunlight or not is unimportant. In the wild, Vinca rosea grows in shaded woodland areas, but also thrives in open country.
The pH (acidity or alkalinity) of your soil does not matter. The Vinca Rosea can grow in any type of soil. However, it does not react well to highly fertilised soil and the planter or pot should be well drained. Chalky, loamy or sandy soil works best for this plant.
As it can survive in the desert, the Vinca rosea can survive in homes where people tend to forget to water the plants. Overwatering or poor drainage will kill the plant faster than underwatering. It is vulnerable to aphids, so spray its leaves occasionally with an anti-aphid solution.
Vinca rosea grows from seeds. Those who are lucky enough to live in a warm climate report that the plant can soon overrun a garden, so be careful to remove any seeds you see on the plants if you live in a frost-free region. Areas with frost have more luck for those who want to manage the spread of the plant. Frost kills the plant off, but the seeds will stay dormant in the ground and re-grow once the cold season has passed. Those planting Vinca rosea indoors can collect the seeds once they have dried out on the plant. Soak the seeds and mix them with sand before planting in pots.
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