Well-maintained vinca trees excel in summer landscapes – L’Observateur



By Gary R. Bachman
MSU Extension Service

One of the best flowering annuals that we can have in the second half of the summer season is the flowering vinca.

I made a brief comment a few weeks ago about replacing petunias with flowering vincas. The biggest problem many gardeners have with flowering vinca is planting it too early in the spring in cool soil or keeping the beds too moist. Both of these missteps lead to root rot issues.

But blooming vincas are excellent plants, so to solve these potential problems I like to recommend the Cora vinca series. Cora selections, as well as Nirvana vinca, have a high degree of tolerance to disease issues that may affect other vinca selections.

Cora vinca has attractive dark green foliage with a leathery look and texture which is the perfect background to really show off her strong production of colorful flowers. Vincas are available in vertical or spread form.

Upright Cora grows to around 16 inches tall and wide and has colors of white, lavender, purple, strawberry, and red.

Cora Cascade vinca, which has a spreading growth habit, produces plants with good branching that create a beautiful colorful mass 8 inches in height and up to 36 inches in width. The trailing growth habit is perfect for creating a floral carpet effect and displaying the large, showy blooms that come in colors of cherry, lilac, peach blush, polka dots, and strawberry.

RED – Cora vinca are available in upright or layered selections. Stand up to 16 inches, while the spread out selections create a floral carpet effect. (Photo by MSU Extension / Gary Bachman)
Alternate Text – Red flowers bloom on a green plant.

Follow these tips for the best success when planting vinca in your garden and landscape.

Vinca will always flower and grow best when planted in full sun in raised landscaped beds. The raised bed provides optimal drainage of the planting soil. This is important because flowering vinca does not like to have “wet feet” and develops root rot problems under these conditions.

Always wait to plant after May 1, when the soil in the landscape has warmed up. This is not a problem if you want to plant vinca in your landscape now.

Vinca plants are heavy eaters, so be sure to incorporate a quality, slow-release fertilizer when planting. Feed a water soluble 20-20-20 or 20-10-20 monthly to keep these flowers in bloom.

Mulch with pine straw instead of a heavier mulch like pine or cypress bark to allow better air circulation through the mulch.

Although vincas are drought tolerant, they benefit from supplemental irrigation during prolonged dry spells. But do not use overhead watering, as it may splash the plants with pathogenic organisms. I recommend using drip irrigation, which applies the water directly to the soil.

PURPLE – Flowering vincas like this Cora Violet selection are versatile and can be used in place of petunias. (Photo by MSU Extension / Gary Bachman)
Alternate Text – Purple flowers bloom on a green plant.

I recently saw some beautiful vinca plants at the local garden centers. It’s not too late to enjoy these beautiful plants this year.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Dr. Gary Bachman is an Extension and research professor of horticulture at the Mississippi State University Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi. He is also the host of the popular Southern Gardening television and radio programs. Contact him at southerngardening@msstate.edu. Locate Southern Gardening products online at http://extension.msstate.edu/shows/southern-gardening.]


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