Hot! Hot! Hot! That is just how Vincas like it. It is the perfect plant for an African summer garden. Particularly well suited to the Cape summers, this bright and bold annual is an outstanding performer and is still standing tall where most others are wilting from the heat.
Cartharanthus roseus, also known as the Madagascar or Cape Periwinkle, is the botanical name for what we know as Vinca. It is native to Madagascar with cultivars now naturalised around the world. In the sub tropical regions of South Africa, Vincas can be used as a perennial, however in the frost regions it is grown and used as an annual as it does not appreciate cold temperatures and will succumb to frost.
Vincas are herbaceous, with the lower part of the stem becoming semi woody as the plant matures. As an annual the Vinca plant grows to a height of no more than 30-35cm with a spread of about the same. The stems are fairly rigid and upright, bearing opposite, glossy leaves that are bright green in colour. The leaf has a very distinctive lime green coloured central vein running through it. The leaf edge is smooth.
The flowers are very simple in construction. Comprising of five petals the flower looks similar to that of the blades of an electrical fan. The colour palette is made up primarily of shades and variations of pink and rose, although you will find lavender, purple, orange, red and white as well. Many of the flowers have a central “eye” that is contrasting in colour to the petals. The most common and popular Vinca is Peppermint or Bright Eye – white petals with a red eye.