How to Plant and Grow Annual Vinca

Annual vincas deliver colorful blooms on the hottest summer days.

What's not to love about annual vinca? An array of colorful blooms held above glossy foliage is a win for any situation. One of annual vinca's claims to fame is its ability to perform spectacularly on even the hottest summer days.

Vinca flowers are suspended over glossy, emerald-green foliage. Many cultivars are described as "with eye." These varieties feature one color in the center of the bloom that fades out to a main color. Flower colors can be pink, red, white, or purple.

Even though newer varieties of annual vinca are small, the amount of blooms produced on one plant has nearly doubled. The smaller size of these newer varieties makes the plants easier to manage and well-suited for container plantings.

All parts of annual vinca (Catharanthus roseus) are toxic and should be kept away from children and pets.

Annual Vinca Overview

Genus Name Catharanthus roseus
Common Name Annual Vinca
Plant Type Annual
Light Sun
Height 6 to 12 inches
Width 8 to 36 inches
Flower Color Pink, Purple, Red, White
Season Features Fall Bloom, Summer Bloom
Special Features Good for Containers, Low Maintenance
Zones 10, 11, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Propagation Seed, Stem Cuttings
Problem Solvers Drought Tolerant

Where to Plant Annual Vinca

Annual vinca plants are native to Madagascar and need well-draining soil in a sunny location. Annual vinca can be trailing or upright. Trailing vincas are a great option to spill out of a container or hanging basket. Trailing varieties are also useful as groundcovers in beds and borders. Upright varieties work well as mass plantings, especially in landscapes where you want a big impact with little maintenance.

How and When to Plant Annual Vinca

Plant young seedlings after the last frost of spring when nighttime temperatures remain above freezing. Position them at the same depth they were in their containers. If you are using the vincas in a bed or border, position them 8 inches apart. If they are for groundcover for a larger area, position them 12 to 18 inches apart.

If you are growing annual vincas from seed, sow them in a seed-starting medium 10 to 12 weeks before the last frost date. After they have at least two pairs of true leaves, place the containers in a sheltered place for a week to harden off the seedlings before planting them outside after all danger of frost has passed.

Annual Vinca Care Tips


Full sun is best, but annual vincas can handle partial shade as long as there's good air circulation.

Soil and Water

Well-draining garden soil enriched with compost is ideal for annual vincas, but they grow even in poor soil. If you grow annual vincas in containers, use a commercial potting soil rather than garden soil. Water regularly when the top 2 inches of soil are dry but don't overwater. Annual vincas tolerate drought but not overwatering.


Fertilize monthly for the best bloom production. Use a balanced product, such as 10-10-10, applied in either a granular or liquid form. For the amount to use, follow product label instructions.

Pests and Problems

Pests and diseases are not much of a problem with annual vincas, but if an area lacks sufficient air circulation, the plant can develop fungal problems.

How to Propagate Annual Vinca

To start vinca from seed, sow and cover the seed with a light layer of soil. Keep the soil consistently moist during germination. Keep vincas out of cold areas; the plants will be slow to start without the heat they know and love. Vincas can also be started from cuttings, but they require high humidity and bottom heat to start.

Types of Annual Vinca

'Jaio Dark Red'

Catharanthus 'Jaio Dark Red' vinca
Peter Krumhardt

Catharanthus 'Jaio Dark Red' produces rich magenta-red flowers on 1-foot-tall plants.

'Mediterranean Deep Rose'

Catharanthus 'Mediterranean Deep Rose' vinca
Scott Little

Catharanthus 'Mediterranean Deep Rose' produces rich magenta-rose flowers on trailing plants perfect for containers.

'Pacifica Burgundy Halo'

Catharanthus 'Pacifica Burgundy Halo' vinca
Peter Krumhardt

Catharanthus 'Pacifica Burgundy Halo' produces deep red-pink flowers with a large white eye. It grows 12 inches tall.

'Pacifica Punch'

Catharanthus 'Pacifica Punch' vinca
Justin Hancock

Catharanthus 'Pacifica Punch' is an award-winning selection that produces deep rose-pink flowers with a magenta eye. It grows 12 inches tall.

'Pretty in Pink'

Catharanthus 'Pretty in Pink' vinca
Peter Krumhardt

Catharanthus 'Pretty in Pink', an award-winning variety, offers soft pink flowers on compact 1-foot-tall plants.

'Pretty in White'

Catharanthus 'Pretty in White' vinca
Peter Krumhardt

Catharanthus 'Pretty in White' bears large, pure-white flowers on compact plants.

'Tropical Rose'

Catharanthus 'Tropical Rose' vinca
Peter Krumhardt

Catharanthus 'Tropical Rose' produces large, bold magenta-red flowers on compact plants.

Annual Vinca Companion Plants


Angelonia Serena White

Angelonia is also called summer snapdragon, and once you get a good look at it, you'll know why. It has salvia-like flower spires that reach one to two feet high, but they're studded with fascinating snapdragon-like flowers with beautiful colorations in purple, white, or pink. This tough plant blooms all summer long, with its spikes of blooms adding bright color to hot, sunny spaces. While all varieties are beautiful, keep an eye out for the sweetly scented selections. Most gardeners treat angelonia as an annual, but it is perennial in Zones 9-10. If you have a bright, sunny spot indoors, you can keep it flowering all winter.

Calibrachoa (Million Bells)

Calibrachoa 'MiniFamous Compact Dark Red'
Justin Hancock

Like a tiny petunia on steroids, calibrachoa (also called million bells) grows and flowers at an amazing rate. Often confused for a petunia, million bells makes a splash no matter where you put it in the garden. It is perfect for containers or hanging baskets but also can be tucked into the front of a border where it will spill out onto a sidewalk or patio. In fact, it may be the ultimate "spiller" for container gardens as long as you give it ample water and fertilizer, which it needs to fuel its astounding growth. Shown here: Calibrachoa 'MiniFamous® Compact Red'.


Eustoma 'Balboa White' lisianthus
John Reed Forsman

Lisianthus flowers make people ooh and ahh. Some varieties of this annual look like a blue rose. It's such an elegant flower, you'd never guess it's native to American prairies. Lisianthus is one of the best cut flowers—it will last in the vase for two to three weeks—but it can be challenging to grow. They're tricky to start from seed, so stick with established seedlings. Plant them in rich, well-drained soil in full sun after all danger of frost has passed. Keep moist, but don't overwater. Taller varieties of lisianthus often need staking to keep their long stems from breaking, but newer dwarf varieties are more carefree.

Garden Plans for Annual Vinca

Hot-Summer Garden Plan

hot summer garden plan illustration
Illustration by Mavis Augustine Torke

Maintenance is a breeze with this heat-resistant, high-color garden plan. Follow our guide to get the look in your green space.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How are annual vincas different from other vincas?

    Three different plants are referred to as periwinkles or vincas, but that's about all they have in common. Annual vincas (Catharanthus roseus) are grown as annuals in zones 2-11. The other two vincas are perennials (and invasive). Common periwinkle (Vinca minor) is a low-growing ground cover, while its close cousin (Vinca major) is larger and serves as a mounding ground cover.

  • Do annual vincas come back every year?

    Annual vincas die at first frost, but they might reseed themselves and make a return appearance the following season.

Was this page helpful?
Better Homes & Gardens is committed to using high-quality, reputable sources—including peer-reviewed studies—to support the facts in our articles. Read about our editorial policies and standards to learn more about how we fact check our content for accuracy.
  1. Catharanthus roseus. North Carolina State University

Related Articles