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Madagascar Periwinkle Catharanthus roseus

Previously known as:

  • Vinca rosea
  • Vinca roseus
Phonetic Spelling
kath-ah-RAN-thus RO-zee-us
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Madagascar Periwinkle is an evergreen, erect to spreading herbaceous tender perennial to 4' tall, frequently planted as an annual as it is not cold hardy.  However, it tough in the face of many other conditions such as dappled shade and various soil types.  Flowers have a slender tube and 5 spreading lobes, rose-pink, white, or white with a reddish eye.  It blooms all summer from July through September, only stopping at frost.  Fruits quickly form during blooming season, resembling a "V" or victory sign.  It is an easily identified bedding plant by its salverform corollas with 5 glands on the tube & distinct fruits.  It is very attractive with glossy foliage and blooms even during heat stress. 

Plant it in the full sun to partial or dappled shade in moist well-drained soil.  While it prefers acidic soil, it tolerates a range of soil types so long as it has good drainage.  Seeds can be sown in March in warm temperatures and planted out in early June.  It does not need pinching or deadheading.  Utilized as a ground cover in beds, bedding, borders.

 

Quick ID Hints:

  • Salverform flowers with 5 glandular dots on upper corolla tube
  • Twin elongated fruits from one calyx
  • Glossy foliage borne in pairs on stem

 

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Collector’s Garden
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Apricot Cooler Improved'
  • 'Aztec Pink Magic'
  • 'Blue Pearl'
  • 'Cascade Beauty White'
  • 'Cooler Icy Pink'
  • 'Cooler Orchid'
  • 'Cooler Peppermint'
  • 'Cora Burgundy'
  • 'Cora Cascade Cherry'
  • 'Cora Cascade Strawberry'
  • 'Cora Red'
  • 'Experimental Dee'
  • 'Mediterranean Lilac'
  • 'Mediterranean XP Cherry Halo'
  • 'Mediterranean XP Rose Halo'
  • 'Nirvana Pink Blush'
  • 'Nirvana Red'
  • 'Nirvana Sky Blue'
  • 'Nirvana Violet'
  • 'Pacifica White'
  • 'Sunshower Lilac'
  • 'Titian Icy Pink'
'Apricot Cooler Improved', 'Aztec Pink Magic', 'Blue Pearl', 'Cascade Beauty White', 'Cooler Icy Pink', 'Cooler Orchid', 'Cooler Peppermint', 'Cora Burgundy', 'Cora Cascade Cherry', 'Cora Cascade Strawberry', 'Cora Red', 'Experimental Dee', 'Mediterranean Lilac', 'Mediterranean XP Cherry Halo', 'Mediterranean XP Rose Halo', 'Nirvana Pink Blush', 'Nirvana Red', 'Nirvana Sky Blue', 'Nirvana Violet', 'Pacifica White', 'Sunshower Lilac', 'Titian Icy Pink'
Tags:
#purple#red#white#sun#poisonous#partial shade#annual#drought tolerant#perennial#salmon#pink flowers#tough plant#fall interest#rabbit resistant#cpp#herbaceous#spreading#summer flowers#deer resistant#groundcover#borders#self-seeding#spring interest#pollinator plant#fantz#dry soils tolerant#butterfly friendly#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Apricot Cooler Improved'
  • 'Aztec Pink Magic'
  • 'Blue Pearl'
  • 'Cascade Beauty White'
  • 'Cooler Icy Pink'
  • 'Cooler Orchid'
  • 'Cooler Peppermint'
  • 'Cora Burgundy'
  • 'Cora Cascade Cherry'
  • 'Cora Cascade Strawberry'
  • 'Cora Red'
  • 'Experimental Dee'
  • 'Mediterranean Lilac'
  • 'Mediterranean XP Cherry Halo'
  • 'Mediterranean XP Rose Halo'
  • 'Nirvana Pink Blush'
  • 'Nirvana Red'
  • 'Nirvana Sky Blue'
  • 'Nirvana Violet'
  • 'Pacifica White'
  • 'Sunshower Lilac'
  • 'Titian Icy Pink'
'Apricot Cooler Improved', 'Aztec Pink Magic', 'Blue Pearl', 'Cascade Beauty White', 'Cooler Icy Pink', 'Cooler Orchid', 'Cooler Peppermint', 'Cora Burgundy', 'Cora Cascade Cherry', 'Cora Cascade Strawberry', 'Cora Red', 'Experimental Dee', 'Mediterranean Lilac', 'Mediterranean XP Cherry Halo', 'Mediterranean XP Rose Halo', 'Nirvana Pink Blush', 'Nirvana Red', 'Nirvana Sky Blue', 'Nirvana Violet', 'Pacifica White', 'Sunshower Lilac', 'Titian Icy Pink'
Tags:
#purple#red#white#sun#poisonous#partial shade#annual#drought tolerant#perennial#salmon#pink flowers#tough plant#fall interest#rabbit resistant#cpp#herbaceous#spreading#summer flowers#deer resistant#groundcover#borders#self-seeding#spring interest#pollinator plant#fantz#dry soils tolerant#butterfly friendly#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Catharanthus
    Species:
    roseus
    Family:
    Apocynaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Chemical compounds in this plant led to a breakthrough in the treatment of modern-day cancer patients.
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Madagascar
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Food Source
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Moderate to high drought tolerance. This plant is seldom damaged by deer.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 6 in. - 1 ft. 6 in.
    Width: 0 ft. 8 in. - 0 ft. 10 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Ground Cover
    Poisonous
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Semi-evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Spreading
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    10b, 10a, 11b, 11a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Follicle
    Fruit Description:
    fruits long, slender, often paired. Elongate follicles within one persisting calyx.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Solitary
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Long Bloom Season
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Axillary, solitary, rosy-pink to mauve to reddish, or white. The calyx is green, tube slender, lobes subulate. Corolla is salverform, bearing 5 glands apically on the tube, lobes often with prominent eyespot at the throat. The ovary is two-chambered, splitting apart in fruit. It blooms from June until frost.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Semi-evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Smooth
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Oblong
    Spatulate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves opposite, simple, smooth-margined. Oblong to elliptic-oblong to oblong-spatulate, glabrous, glossy with a pale midrib.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Erect to decumbent, upturned apically; lateral branches ascending.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Patio
    Recreational Play Area
    Small Space
    Walkways
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Border
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Rabbits
    Problems:
    Poisonous to Humans
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure, hallucinations, depression, tremors, seizures, coma, death
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Vinca Alkaloids
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Flowers
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Roots
    Seeds
    Stems