The Madagascar periwinkle is a herbaceous plant native to the island country of which it bears the name.
Madagascar periwinkle facts
Name – Catharanthus roseus (formerly Alcea rosea)
Family – Apocynceae or dogbane
Type – bush
Height – 10 to 20 inches (0.25 to 0.5 meters)
Exposure – full sun
Soil – well-drained
Foliage – evergreen (in warm climates)
Flowering – May to October-November
It will provide you with very cute blooming in summer.
Planting Madagascar periwinkle
Outdoor growing of Madagascar periwinkle
The Madagascar periwinkle is native to the island of Madagascar which has a tropical climate.
- It therefore requires a temperature of at least 68°F (20°C) to thrive and grow.
- When growing it directly in the ground, temperatures must be high in both summer and winter and planting is done in spring.
But it’s also possible to grow Madagascar periwinkle as an annual from May to October without any problems at all.
- Find a very sunny spot for it.
- Mix soil mix into your garden soil.
- Water only if the plant shows signs of dehydration, because it resists arid conditions quite well.
Growing potted Madagascar periwinkle
To grow Madagascar periwinkle in a pot, it is advised to re-pot every 1 or 2 years, preferably in spring.
The pot provided upon purchase will quickly become too small: re-pot your Madagascar periwinkle as soon as its blooming is over.
- Refer to our guidelines on how to repot your plant.
Pruning and caring for your Madagascar periwinkle
If you’re growing your Madagascar periwinkle outdoors like an annual, simply pull the plant out once the first frost spells have hit – it won’t survive the winter anyways.
If you’re growing a Madagascar periwinkle indoors, in pots, you’ll have to prune it on a regular basis to increase blooming and control its growth.
To boost flower-bearing, remove Madagascar periwinkle wilted flowers regularly (deadheading).
- It is best to prune lightly at the very beginning of spring to spur blooming.
- Pruning can be done during re-potting.
Growing Madagascar periwinkle in a pot or container
Choose a very well-lit space for your Madagascar periwinkle, but not in direct sunlight behind a window.
- Avoid heat sources such as radiators.
- Protect the plant from direct sunlight during the hotter hours if placed behind a window.
Water regularly but not too much, to avoid suffocating roots.
Finally, bring your shrub outdoors from May to October to give it fresh air.
When potted, Madagascar periwinkle needs a lot of moisture and likes being placed on a bed of constantly moist gravel or clay marbles, since this recreates its natural environment.
Madagascar periwinkle after flowering
The usual blooming season for Madagascar periwinkle extends from May to October.
- After blooming, its is best to winterize your plant: place it in a cooler but well-lit room.
- Ideal temperatures are around 68 to 70° F (20 to 21° C) in summer, and 50 to 60°F (10 to 15°C) in winter.
- Bring watering down to the minimum and refrain from adding fertilizer.
Diseases and issues related to Madagascar periwinkle
Madagascar periwinkle leaves turn yellow most often when they were exposed to the cold or to lack of water.
- Protect your Madagascar periwinkle from drafts and regularly spray water on their leaves.
If a cottony white substance starts covering the leaves of your Madagascar periwinkle, it means a scale insect colony has appeared..
- Follow our advice on how to treat scale insects.
Madagascar periwinkle can also be colonized by mites and ticks such as red spider mites.
- Here is how to fight red spider mites.
Smart tip about the Madagascar periwinkle
Adding flower plant organic fertilizer will enhance its bloom.