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Flowering Vinca can take the heat
One of the most important factors in choosing flowering annuals is finding one that tolerates the hot Mississippi summers. Many annuals cannot maintain their color in the high temperatures, but the flowering Vinca is one that can.
Flowering Vinca is a versatile, full-sun plant. Known botanically as Catharanthus roseus, flowering Vinca originated in the hot and dry regions of southern Africa. It looks great mass-planted in the landscape or as a flowering ground cover.
I think flowering Vinca really stands out in containers, even in blazing summer temperatures. Many of the flowering Vinca available have an upright growth habit and make good thriller plants in combination containers, but I really like the newer spreading or trailing selections grown in hanging baskets or mixed containers.
I planted one of the trailing varieties, Nirvana Cascade flowering Vinca, this spring and have really been amazed by it. The flowers are similar in size to the 2007 Mississippi Medallion winner Titan series. The flower petals are overlapping, creating a very full bloom. The color selection is typical of flowering Vinca and includes red, violet and white solid colors. Cascade Pink Blush has pastel pink petals and a dark eye, while Cascade Pink Splash has light pink petals with a burst of dark pink in the center.
I recently started growing flowering annuals in wall sconce planters. These planters are the perfect way to show off the trailing and flowering capabilities of Nirvana Cascade flowering Vinca.
When planting in containers, always use a quality peat-based potting media that is well drained and will maintain adequate moisture. Nirvana Cascade flowering Vinca has been bred to perform in hot and humid conditions. This breeding has resulted in resistance to aerial phytopthera, which can be a problem for flowering Vinca in humid conditions.
When buying any flowering Vinca varieties at your local garden center, be sure to select plants with bright green foliage. This foliage will develop into the perfect background for the flowering show of whites, pinks, purples and reds.
All flowering Vinca are heavy feeders, so be sure to add a high-quality, slow-release fertilizer when transplanting into containers or hanging baskets. Maintaining the nutrition at optimum levels is important for plant growth and flower production. Using water soluble fertilizer weekly with normal irrigation will go a long way to ensuring continued flowering through the summer season and beyond. Even plants that tolerate hot and dry conditions do require supplemental watering.