Vinca “Catharanthus roseus” is an annual subshrub that begins to bloom in June. The plant continues to generate beautiful blooms and shiny, dark green leaves until the first frost. There are two Vinca species – Vinca minor “periwinkle” and Vinca major. Only an experienced gardener will know the difference between the two species.
Routine pruning and pinching are two methods utilized to prevent Vinca from getting leggy. Most gardeners utilize Vinca as a groundcover in container gardens and landscape gardens.
These methods are explained more in-depth in the content provided below.
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Pruning Back Vinca
Before you start pruning your vinca, there are a few things to consider. Pruning is a common practice utilized by gardeners, groundskeepers, horticulturists, and avid flower enthusiasts.
The practice is utilized to combat crossing branches, branch stubs, sucker growth, branch stubs, waterspouts, closely spaced branches, and broken limbs in trees.
It is also utilized to prevent legging in Vinca and other plant species. Pruning works by helping rejuvenate growth and controlling the direction in which a Vinca plant grows.
Pruning works wonders for combatting leggy Vinca. On the downside, the practice can lead to stunted growth. The key to preventing stunted growth in Vinca plants is to not prune lightly.
Pruning is an efficient and effective method for preventing leggy Vinca.
However, pruning back the plant back severely can result in stunted growth. In other words, it could take two weeks or longer for the plant to regenerate and bloom again.
Learn how you can keep your flowers blooming longer here.
Pinching Back Vinca
Both the Vinca minor and Vinca major can be invasive in some areas. When the plants are not properly maintained, they may continue to spread until smothering out other groundcover plant species.
One example is when the species is planted on gravesites. Some people decorate their family members’ and friends’ gravesites with Vinca plants. This eliminates the need to mow grass but complicates things for cemetery caretakers.
They can also be found on hillsides and other maintenance-free landscapes.
The Vinca flower is available in various colors, including pink, red, lilac, blue, tangerine, red, and white.
Pinching is another method utilized by gardeners to control the height of the Vinca minor and Vinca major.
Some gardeners prefer the pinching method to pruning because it is less likely to cause the growth to be stunted. To stimulate the Vinca plant, you just pinch off a small portion of specific branches.
Do not go overboard when pinching back Vinca to avoid stunted growth.
[Related Article: Why Are My Potted Vinca Leaves Turning Yellow]
Deadhead is a common practice utilized to encourage further Vinca blooming.
The method is very commonly utilized in greenhouses, gardens, and well-maintained landscapes to remove dead Vinca blooms.
Deadheading also helps combat legginess. To ensure maximum effectiveness of deadheading, the Vinca bloom must be trimmed back to the base of the plant. Utilizing a sharp pruner to remove the dead blooms.
[Related Article: Vinca vs Periwinkle: [Key Differences]
Leggy Vinca Seedling Overview
Some commercial gardeners and greenhouses get a jumpstart on the Vinca growing season by germinating seeds. Germinating Vinca seedlings can easily be started indoors, allowing commercial vendors to be prepared for the peak season.
The key is to invest in Vinca seeds to ensure the highest profit. This method also works for independent flower gardeners and Vinca enthusiasts who want to minimize their annual expenses.
While germinating Vinca seeds works great in reducing costs and getting a jump start on the peak season, there are some risks involved.
It takes up to two weeks, depending on environmental conditions, for the Vinca seeds to sprout.
Germination requires a bit of maintenance to minimize the risk of leggy Vinca seedlings. The first step of the germination process is sowing the Vinca seed in the right soil.
Watering must also be very precise to ensure successful germination. If not properly maintained, you will end up with a treasure trove of spindly, weak, stalks.
When this happens, it becomes a financial loss, in addition to a loss of time and resources.
Leggy Vinca Seedling Causes
The primary factor linked to spindly and weak Vinca seedlings is inefficient lighting. Whether you are utilizing sunlight or grow lights, lighting is a crucial component of the germination process.
Vinca seedlings grow towards the lights. The need to access sunlight is a priority for the seedling.
If the grow light is too far away from the seedlings, they will continue to grow until the stem is too weak and spindly to contain the weight of the plant.
The key to avoiding Vinca seedling legginess is light manipulation. As mentioned previously, germinating healthy Vinca seedlings is not as easy as it may seem.
You can research until your heart is content and still end up with leggy Vinca seedlings, with improper lighting.
It is recommended to place Vinca seedlings in or in front of a window for up to eight hours each day. This is sufficient sunlight for the young seedling.
Grow lights are a great alternative to natural lighting but manipulation is still necessary.
If you opt to utilize grow lights, the exposure must be increased by at least two hours each day.
Depending on the type of grow light you have chosen to utilize, it may be necessary to increase the artificial light exposure to 16 hours per day.
It is recommended to utilize an automatic timer to prevent overexposure to artificial lighting.
Where Does The Vinca Species Originate From?
The Vinca species can be found in various regions throughout the world. Each species originates from one or more regions. The Vinca difformis is just one example.
The species originates from the central and western Mediterranean and the Azores.
The Vinca erecta originates from Uzbekistan, Krygyzstan, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan.
The Vinca soneri and Vinca ispartensis come from Turkey while the Vinca herbacea grows in the Middle East and various regions of Europe.
The Vinca major originates in Turkey, Southern Europe, and Syria. It was later introduced to California, Ukraine, China, Mexico, Peru, Guatemala, Madeira, and Columbia.
Preventing legginess is not all that complicated. As long as you have the right tools and knowledge, your vinca plants will never be leggy.
Remember, practice makes perfect when growing Vinca plants.