Abundant blooms and ease of care make vinca (Catharanthus roseus) an excellent selection when you’ve got little time to tend your garden. Made in boundaries, flowerbeds, rock gardens and containers, the vinca flower offers instant color wherever it grows. The circular, flat blooms appear in addition to 12- to 15-inch stems. These drought-tolerant bedding crops thrive in almost any soil type so long as it’s quickly draining and not overly fertile. Hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9b during 11, vincas thrive in full sun and require temperatures no colder than 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pull any weeds growing across the vinca. Clear any debris, such as fallen leaves, twigs or rocks in the bottom. Spread a 1- to 2-inch layer of mulch around the plants using a trowel or garden fork. Keep the mulch 2 to three inches away from the plants’ stems to prevent the evolution of rot.
Water that the vinca only when the surrounding soil becomes completely dry. Apply water from a garden hose directly to the soil surrounding the plants. Do not splash the plants’ foliage. Wet the soil to a depth of 6 inches. Supply the plants water during the morning to permit time for drops of moisture to dry before nightfall.
Fertilize the plants after a month using a 10-10-10 nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium fertilizer. Mix 1 tsp of fertilizer with 1 gallon of water, or according to the instructions on the package. Apply the fertilizer in position of a watering.
Clip off the terminal end of this plant’s most important stem to encourage lateral branching when the plant gets tall and leggy. Make the cut 1/8 to 1/4 inch above the second pair of leaves using a set of pruning snips.
Check the plant’s leaves for aphids or mites when you water. Wash off little pest populations using a constant stream of water in the morning. Spray heavily infested plants with insecticidal soap or horticultural oil to eradicate the pests.