Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Rose Periwinkle, Cayenne Jasmine, Madagascar Periwinkle, Old Maid, Vinca
Catharanthus roseus

Family: Apocynaceae (a-pos-ih-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Catharanthus (kat-uh-RANTH-us) (Info)
Species: roseus (RO-zee-us) (Info)

Synonym:Vinca rosea

19 members have or want this plant for trade.

View this plant in a garden

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

6-9 in. (15-22 cm)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Blooms repeatedly


Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

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20 positives
3 neutrals
2 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive 2013_2 On Apr 21, 2014, 2013_2 from Greenville, TX wrote:

Greenville, TX 75402, Hardiness Zone 7b-8. Winter of 2014 was very cold. However, I had FROST CLOTH covering my Vinca perrwinkle 'ROSE'. April 21 what I have is a dead-looking plant. Do not see any green, new growth of any kind. Since they bloom in June, can I expect green, new growth in late spring, early summer? I don't want to pull up the plants until I know for sure the roots froze. 'ROSE' bloomed all last summer. It is a beautiful color. HOPE LIFE IS STILL IN THE ROOTS.
Any suggestions, comments are greatly appreciated.

Positive Heeve On Nov 2, 2013, Heeve from Sebring, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Very easy to grow from cuttings here in 10b. Snip a branch, stick it in the dirt and viola, new plant. Plants fill in nicely with many branches from the base, grow to about 2 feet high where we have them and the blooms never end! In fact the ground is constantly "littered" with fallen petals.

Great plant to add some color and to attract the butterflies. Countless colors and color combos to choose from as well.

Positive DCephasTX On Apr 25, 2013, DCephasTX from Lakewood Village, TX wrote:

I have the red and white variety and they don't completely die back in winter; grows back to full plants each year under an organic program (main crowns are covered with 1" of cedar mulch in winter and doesn't die). I haven't had any problems with seedlings as described by some. 75068 is in Zone 7b/8

Positive coastalzonepush On Feb 16, 2013, coastalzonepush from Orlando, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

perfect for year round color in Florida. there are so many colors to choose from, even glowing lavender shades. hardy and tolerant of a very wide range of conditions. it doesn't even cry out for fertilizer or water - it will keep on blooming. fertilizer helps keep the leaves nice and glossy. luckily, i don't have a problem with mine becoming invasive.

Positive agentdonny007 On Sep 7, 2012, agentdonny007 from Las Vegas, NV (Zone 8b) wrote:

Great colorful plant for a desert environment. When provided shade, it appears more lush and vibrant. I purchased this plant as an annual but have been pleasantly surprised at how hardy it has been through our light frosts we can encounter during the winter in Las Vegas.

Neutral claire25 On Aug 20, 2012, claire25 from Salisbury, MD wrote:

Self seeds for me in my Maryland much so that I can't keep up with pulling out all the errant seedlings. It is very tolerant of neglect, and has spread all over my garden. I rate this as a "neutral" because the flowers, though pretty, are kind of insipid-looking to me and are ignored in favor of better flowers by all the insects and birds that I garden for. Does add a welcome splash of late summer color, but that's about it. I'll probably never be able to get rid of it all.

Positive hymenocallis On May 20, 2011, hymenocallis from Auburn, AL (Zone 8a) wrote:

If you're interested in new colors for this plant check NCSU's list of annuals, they have a bunch of new ones (colors that is) The picture that comes up when you search for Catharanthus roseus is a cranberry colored one that I have never seen.

Positive sunkissed On Jan 26, 2011, sunkissed from Winter Springs, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

The lavender ones pop up all over my garden and bloom constantly. I've bought some pretty colors over the years that actually have lasted a few seasons. My favorite was a light pink with dark pink in the center this past year. I had a very dark bright pink one that lasted four years, even after frozen to the ground each winter would come back fuller. Most freeze when too many nights below thirty, however I see some that have made it through so far. I do have to pull seedlings out of areas I don't want sometimes but it is never an overwhelming amount.

Positive azrobin On Oct 17, 2007, azrobin from Scottsdale, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

Wonderful plant here in the AZ desert. Best if planted in afternoon shade as it will bloom repeatedly and retain its deep green foliage. If put in full sun where soil is dryer, plants get lanky, foliage turns light green to yellow and may only put out 1-3 blooms per plant. Too many folks here make that mistake. But, put it in late shade with enough water and it will reward you with beautiful blooms as well as offer seedlings the following year.

Neutral Dinu On Mar 17, 2006, Dinu from Mysore
India (Zone 10a) wrote:

According to some nature-cure therapists, eating two white flowers of this plant daily will have the blood sugar level in check.

Positive IWVmatt On Feb 3, 2006, IWVmatt from Ridgecrest, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I love this plant. Its perfect in the hot summers and for those areas where you dont know what else to plant. This year im gonna try planting in containers.

Positive nature_girl On Feb 2, 2005, nature_girl from Singapore

love this plant.hardy and beautiful.i hardly watered it at all.

Negative TREEHUGR On Dec 4, 2004, TREEHUGR from Now in Orlando, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Really not a good idea to use this material in FL. I have found some in natural areas too. Let's put it this way, I put one flower in the ground next to my driveway in the summer. It withstood the hurricanes and me driving over it constantly with my truck. The one flower has turned into a 36" diameter patch of beauty-ful flowers that persist in only a few months time. I know it looks nice but it's not a friendly plant. I think I'm going to go pull it out now.

Positive pokerboy On Sep 28, 2004, pokerboy from Canberra
Australia (Zone 8b) wrote:

This plant is exteremly hardy and tough able to withstand almost all conditions. pokerboy.

Positive punaheledp On Jul 2, 2004, punaheledp from Kailua, HI (Zone 11) wrote:

I like these as they are showy, hardy and great variety of colors. I've has some for several years. I find the leaves will go a bit yellow if it gets to hot/dry. Nice cut flowers, buds will keep maturing and opening for days and sometimes the color will change as they do. Used to only see basic white and purple, thought other colors were hybrids. Is this so or are scarlets, pinks, bicolors, etc all rosea?? fancy colors don't seem to seed as well as basics. reported to be native to W.Indies

Positive smashedcricket On Jan 10, 2004, smashedcricket from Phoenix, AZ wrote:

In my experience this plant perfers warm, dry conditions but not too dry, and not too hot. Flowers more in full sun, but is a lot lusher and darker green in the shade. Good for hanging over raised flower beds or a groundcover. Roots when the tip touches moist soil. I really like this plant though you need to keep an eye on it every now and then because if it gets too dry or too wet it can die on you pretty quick.

Positive TerriFlorida On Sep 30, 2003, TerriFlorida from Plant City, FL wrote:

According to the culture notes on this site, periwinkle grows in alkaline soil. Central Florida is typically acidic soils, and it grows fine here. I like this tender perennial because it is a tough plant. Against my old house, two or three overwintered for years and delighted my housemate the non-gardener. If it was truely invasive, it would have followed me here via seeds when we moved, and it does not seem to have done that. It is pretty, it is easy to propagate, it is easy to move or weed out where not wanted, it is not so poisonous as to kill babies, bees do indeed treasure it. I had a pure white mutant for awhile, too.

Positive suncatcheracres On Sep 11, 2003, suncatcheracres from Old Town, FL wrote:

This pretty plant has naturalized in St. Petersburg, Florida, zone 9b, and can be found everywhere, in all colors. It is bright and tropical looking and always looks neat, as the flowers don't linger, but rapidly replace one another. I especially like the look of the white ones, with yellow, red or purple centers, which shine against the dark green foliage.

In Central Florida once you have this plant, you will always have it. I never noticed any fungal damage, but St. Petersburg is now part of the Tampa Bay "urban heat zone," and does not seem to get as much rain as it once did, which seems strange, as it is on a peninsula surrounded by water on three sides.

Negative Monocromatico On Jun 3, 2003, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

It grows spontaneously, and may be invasive. As many Apocynaceae, this plant is also poisonous, being a danger to kids and pets

Positive Nurafey On Apr 24, 2003, Nurafey from Polk City, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Yet another easy to grow plant. The only time I have had any trouble growing them is when my mother and I planted them around her pool. The chlorine killed them.

For my own experience, I simply plant a small plant in the ground, water well, and pretty much ignore. They have a nice "clean" fragrance, though not very strong. I think the leaves have more smell than the flowers. They seed well, I started with two plants and now have several dozen.

I noticed that the traditional lavender pink colour can get a bit larger than the ones that were purchased at stores. I dug up one of mine from a neighbors yard (it was offered) and it has gotten to be at least two feet tall. It is kind of leggy, but pruning will keep them more compact.

The seeds are easy to grow. I pretty much just sprinkle them around in the area I want them and water twice a week. I don't prepare the soil or bury them.

I live in Zone 9a and mine tend to grow better in partial sun than full sun, and I have also had them grow just fine in the shade, though not as rigorous.

Positive hortmeister On Jan 15, 2003, hortmeister wrote:

Don't buy plants until the weather is all the way warm. We call the fungus that spreads like wildfire through the plants in cool weather 'Vinca Death'. But Vinca shines through the hot weather with minimal watering in hot planters. One year we gave them regular fertilizer and got big plants with strangely large leaves (we called them Space Vinca.) Now we never ferilize them.

Positive mystic On Aug 22, 2002, mystic from Ewing, KY (Zone 6a) wrote:

This is a plant you can always count on to fill in empty spaces in your flower beds or planters. So many colors to pick from and easy to care for.

Positive JoanneAW On Jul 5, 2002, JoanneAW wrote:

Love this plant, it grows so well in our southwestern hot, dry areas. Give it a little water and leave it alone. Too much water will cause root rot. Go light on the fertilizer or don't fertilize at all.

Beautiful in containers and window boxes.

Neutral smiln32 On Aug 30, 2001, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

This plant has a compact habit and is a profuse bloomer in white, pink, rosy red, magenta or purple shades.Sometimes they have a red eye. A choice addition to the mixed border as it has an extra-long blooming period from about mid-June to the first frost. In warm zones, it is grown as a perennial and blooms year-round. The carefree flowers tolerate hot and dry or humid climates and the blossoms do not need deadheading. The old blossoms will fall right off and new ones will keep blooming. Color varies from a deep pink to red, coral, light pink, lavender or white. Soil must be moist but well-drained as too much moisture could lead to bacterial fungus or stem rot. The cultivar 'Pretty in Pink' will aid in repeling nematodes

Positive Terry On Mar 12, 2001, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

A tender perennial grown as an annual in many places, it flowers prolifically in hot, dry climates and relatively infertile soils. This species was formerly known as Vinca rosea, and has the alternative common name of Vinca. (But hould not be confused with the perennial groundcovers, Vinca minor or Vinca major)

The glossy green leaves provide a background for five-petaled flowers, which range from pink, red, purple to white and bi-colored flowers. These are reliable performers for me in middle Tennessee, especially in areas that receive a lot of sun. They might droop a bit in late afternoon, but a little water perks them right up.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Auburn, Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama
Gilbert, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona
Scottsdale, Arizona
Canoga Park, California
Castro Valley, California
Fallbrook, California
Ontario, California
Ridgecrest, California
Big Pine Key, Florida
Boca Raton, Florida
Cape Canaveral, Florida
Cape Coral, Florida
Clearwater, Florida
Daytona Beach, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Fort Myers, Florida
Gainesville, Florida
Hollywood, Florida
Keystone Heights, Florida (2 reports)
Kissimmee, Florida
Lakeland, Florida (2 reports)
Lutz, Florida
Maitland, Florida
Mayo, Florida
Nokomis, Florida
North Fort Myers, Florida
North Palm Beach, Florida
North Port, Florida
Pensacola, Florida
Plant City, Florida
Port Charlotte, Florida
Port Saint Lucie, Florida
Rockledge, Florida
Saint Augustine, Florida
Saint Cloud, Florida (2 reports)
Sebring, Florida (2 reports)
Stuart, Florida
Tampa, Florida
Venice, Florida
Webster, Florida
West Palm Beach, Florida
Winter Park, Florida
Winter Springs, Florida
Braselton, Georgia
Clarkston, Georgia
Fayetteville, Georgia
Hawkinsville, Georgia
Villa Rica, Georgia
Kailua, Hawaii
Village Park, Hawaii
Springfield, Illinois
Lansing, Kansas
Holden, Louisiana
New Iberia, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana
Scott, Louisiana
Violet, Louisiana
Salisbury, Maryland
Valley Lee, Maryland
Ocean Springs, Mississippi
Ridgeland, Mississippi
Saucier, Mississippi
Kansas City, Missouri
Las Vegas, Nevada
West Islip, New York
Beaufort, North Carolina
Greenville, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina
Rowland, North Carolina
Madison, Ohio
Carolina, Puerto Rico
Ladys Island, South Carolina
Longs, South Carolina
North Augusta, South Carolina
Prosperity, South Carolina
Lenoir City, Tennessee
Allen, Texas
Austin, Texas (2 reports)
Broaddus, Texas
Bryan, Texas
Bulverde, Texas
Corpus Christi, Texas
Greenville, Texas
Houston, Texas (3 reports)
Humble, Texas
La Porte, Texas
Little Elm, Texas
Midland, Texas
Port Lavaca, Texas
Rochelle, Texas
Rosharon, Texas
Wharton, Texas
Willis, Texas
Syracuse, Utah
Seattle, Washington
Muscoda, Wisconsin

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