How to Care for Madagascar Periwinkle

Madagascar periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus) is easy to grow and can be grown both indoors and in the garden. It has shiny green leaves and has either pink, white or red flowers depending on which variety you purchase.

Steps

  1. Image titled Care for Madagascar Periwinkle Step 1
    1
    Purchase a plant from the local nursery or garden centre. Alternatively, grow the plant from seed in spring to obtain really good flowering plants.
    • This plant can also be propagated by cuttings.
  2. Image titled Care for Madagascar Periwinkle Step 2
    2
    Use a soil-based compost in the pot.
  3. Image titled Care for Madagascar Periwinkle Step 3
    3
    Place the Madagascar periwinkle in bright light or direct sunlight. A sunny windowsill is ideal or a south-facing room (northern hemisphere) or a north-facing room (southern hemisphere). Avoid growing the plant in conditions under 10ºC.
  4. Image titled Care for Madagascar Periwinkle Step 4
    4
    Water regularly. Don't over-water or water log it though; the soil should be evenly moist and well draining.
    • Mist the foliage regularly if the humidity is below 50 percent and use a pebble tray to stand the plant on.
  5. Image titled Care for Madagascar Periwinkle Step 5
    5
    Feed every 14 days from early spring to autumn (fall). Use a general liquid fertiliser.
  6. Image titled Care for Madagascar Periwinkle Step 6
    6
    Consider whether to overwinter it or to treat it as an annual. It's not likely to provide as good a show of flowers the next year that it is grown unless you feed and water it regularly.
    • If keeping, repot it in the spring.

Tips

  • This plant is also known as Vinca roseus and Old Maid.
  • Madagascar periwinkle has a role in the treatment of childhood leukemia.

Warnings

  • Wash hands after handling as this plant is poisonous. Keep out of the reach of pets and small children.
  • Inadequate light usually means fewer blooms.
  • Mealy bugs are fond of this plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Madagascar periwinkle seed, cutting or plant
  • Suitable container
  • Pebble tray (optional)
  • Watering can, mister (optional)
  • Fertiliser (standard liquid plant fertiliser)

Article Info

Categories: Indoor and Patio Plants