Catharanthus roseus – Madagascar periwinkle


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When seen for the first time and planted well, white Catharanthus can appear as chic as any Gardenia. Unfortunately, it also comes in a range of hot, saccharine colours and suffers from a ubiquity that rather breaks the initial spell once you get to know this tough, reliable, easy-to-grow old-timer. Despite being a perennial, Catharanthus is usually grown as an annual as the first, continual flush of flower is normally the most impressive. It is very drought tolerant and can be seen blooming in gardens, plant shops and roadsides in the height of summer when very little else is. Regular pruning will encourage the development of a more compact plant that can be used as bedding, groundcover or in any type of container where it will respond best to regular watering. Catharanthus self-seeds freely and can also be easily propagated from cuttings.

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