For fans of plants with simple but pretty flowers, catharanthus is the real king of indoor flowering shrubs. An amazingly showy plant, strewn with bright acrylic flowers with a small eye, and still known as pink periwinkle, conquers with both a lush mass of simple leaves and the ability to bloom relentlessly. This is one of the brightest crops for highlighting the interior, which is not at all difficult to grow indoors. Moreover, due to the ease of reproduction, catharanthus can be constantly changed to new plants, without worrying about the complex parameters of wintering. Most often, the catharanthus is grown as an annual, but it can also be preserved in a perennial culture.
Luxurious indoor periwinkle with pink flowers
Known to flower growers as pink periwinkle, the catharanthus really outwardly reminds of the most unpretentious representative of garden ground covers. Especially the shape of the flowers and the amazing dense glossy foliage. But the catharanthus blooms much more abundantly than the garden periwinkle, and the color range differs radically.
Cataracts (Catharanthus) Is a genus of herbaceous plants and shrubs of the Kutrov family (Apocynaceae). Quarantus pink (Catharanthus roseus) Is a species of evergreen perennial shrubs of the genus Katarantus. In horticulture, it is known as pink periwinkle.
Catharanthus are spectacular, bushy plants. Catharanthus are not only houseplants. They are grown both as garden anniversaries and as balcony flowers. And in whatever conditions the pink periwinkle is grown, it always surprises with its amazing cuteness and cheerfulness.
There are not so many species in the genus Katarantus (only 7-8), but in decorative floriculture, and landscape design, only one plant is used – pink catharanthus (catharanthus roseus). This is an evergreen shrub up to 40-50 cm high. Straight, but densely branching shoots form spectacular bushes, the crown seems lush and very dense.
The greenery of the catharanthus, albeit simple, but very beautiful. Dark, glossy, bright, with a beautiful midrib, lanceolate-oval leaves are pointed at both ends and seem very cute. And what a luxurious background they create for the flowers! Similar in shape and structure to periwinkle flowers, in the catharanthus they consist of 5 lobes with a small but brightly distinguished contrasting eye in the center. The colors of the catharanthus are always bright, acrylic, flashy. The purest tones of pink, orange, white and fuchsia give the plant a cheerful look.
Catharanthus blooms tirelessly from May to October. It seems to strive to cover all the warmest and sunniest months, going into the shade only on the eve of the first severe cold weather. But such duration has its downside: after an enchanting show, the catharanthus is exhausted and it will be very difficult to make it bloom again.
That is why the plant is most often considered as an annual plant, replacing it with new specimens after flowering. After all, fiddling with temperatures, leaving, stimulating flowering is much more difficult than the process of rooting cuttings. New catharanthus can be bought annually, purchasing those that have been forced and treated with inhibitors that inhibit the growth of plant shoots. Or grow new specimens on your own, especially since the catharanthus is very easy to cut.
What to look for when buying?
When buying catharanthus, try to carefully examine the bushes. If you want to really enjoy a colorful show, choose a plant that has a large number of buds, but has not started flowering yet or has just started, only a few flowers have blossomed. The leaves below should not turn yellow: this process cannot be avoided, but it should begin already at the peak of flowering.
Caring for the catharanthus
In its requirements for growing conditions and care, the catharanthus is very similar to all evergreen crops. The most difficult thing in caring for a pink periwinkle is to provide a comfortable plant with air humidity. In all other respects, they are quite unpretentious and hardy.
Lighting for catharanthus
Catharanthus will be able to bloom effectively not only in very well-lit places. Unlike many annuals, this plant tolerates light shading in indoor culture.
And the rule that the better illuminated the location, the better your catharanthus will look, does not always work. After all, a hot place with shading will suit him better than a sunny sultry area. So for this plant, you can choose both partial shade and a well-lit location, depending on the temperatures in the room. Locations on the eastern and western windowsills are considered ideal for the catharanthus.
Katarantus, despite its balcony career, cannot be called a heat-loving plant. The pink periwinkle reaches the greatest decorativeness indoors, where the air temperature remains within the range from 15 to 22 degrees. But there is one “but”: such requirements apply only to perennial plants. If you plan to discard the bush, then the warmer the location, the more abundantly it will bloom.
If you want to preserve the catharanthus and grow it as a perennial, try to cause flowering next year, then place the plant for the winter in cool conditions with a stable temperature of about 15 degrees Celsius or slightly cooler (but in no case below 10 degrees). If you grow the catharanthus as an annual, then after flowering, simply discard the plant or wait until the shoots die off.
This culture is great outdoors too. In the warm season, when the air temperature exceeds 18 degrees, catharanthus can be displayed on balconies or terraces. The main condition is to provide protection from drafts and precipitation, a warm, comfortable and well-lit place. True, the pink periwinkle must be taught to the latter gradually. It is necessary to bring the catharanthus back into the rooms with the first signs of a cold snap, in August.
Watering and air humidity
Katarantus is a moisture-loving culture, the abundant flowering of which requires a constant and sufficiently high moisture content of the substrate. For pink periwinkle, neither drying out of the substrate, nor stagnation of water and waterlogging of the soil should be allowed. The frequency of watering is selected so that the humidity is medium and stable. Only the upper 2-3 cm of the substrate should be allowed to dry between treatments. If the plant is kept for the next year, watering is significantly reduced for it, keeping the substrate in a slightly moist state.
One of the most unpleasant features of a plant is its demanding air humidity. Catharanthus love high rates, and just spraying is not enough to satisfy the whims. Moreover, the latter is significantly complicated by the fact that the flowers cannot be sprayed and the moisture should be carefully directed only to the greenery of the plant.
Due to all the difficulties for the catharanthus, it is better to immediately install humidifiers (artisanal, in the form of pallets with wet expanded clay, pebbles, moss, or automatic). Catharanthus, which are grown as perennials, need active foliar spraying during the cool wintering stage.
Top dressing for catharanthus
Like any actively flowering plant, the catharanthus needs rather intensive feeding. Especially frequent procedures should be for those pink periwinkles that do not plan to save for the next year. For them, fertilizers are applied according to the scheme typical for summer people: they are added to the water for irrigation every week, using half the standard dose.
Perennial catharanthus are fed every 2 weeks with a half-reduced dose of the mixture. For such catharanthus, feeding in the period from October to February is strictly prohibited.
For pink periwinkle, special fertilizers are used for flowering indoor crops, and not universal mixtures.
Pruning and cleaning the catharanthus
Pink periwinkle responds well to formation, which is best done in the form of pinching the ends of the shoots. When grown in a perennial culture, before transplanting, the shoots must be pruned by 1/3 of the height. But for a plant it is much more important to timely remove wilted flowers and leaves turning yellow at the bottom of the shoots, which are very noticeable on this plant. The catharanthus will not preserve its impeccable appearance without your help.
Cultivation of catarrhatus
Transplant and substrate
A transplant will only be needed for plants that are kept from year to year. The procedure is carried out annually, in early spring, marking the beginning of active growth with a transplant. The classic dates in March are perfect for pink periwinkle, but it is better to focus on the beginning of growth (if it is delayed, postpone planting until April).
For a catharanthus, the capacity must be increased in comparison with the previous one by at least 3-4 cm. But the main thing is to keep the substrate unchanged. Therefore, when buying a plant, immediately clarify in which soil mixture the catharanthus grows, at least what is its composition. If you plant in a different soil, the chance of the plant to bloom again is very low.
Usually, catharanthus are planted in a substrate with a loose texture, nutritious, water and air permeable, with a large proportion of peat and sand. Well suited for plant soil mixtures for flowering plants and annuals. According to the reaction, the soil should be sour or neutral.
Diseases and pests
Under improper growing conditions, waterlogging, catharanthus can suffer from a specific disease – brown rust. Its traces in the form of pustules can be found on the underside of the leaves. There is only one method to fight the disease – treatment with fungicides.
Of the pests for the catharanthus, the danger is dry air and its “lovers” – spider mites, scale insects, aphids. The fight will be successful with a combination of care correction and insecticides.
Common problems in growing catharanthus:
- yellowing of leaves in direct sunlight;
- falling of the lower leaves (not considered a problem and indicates rejuvenation);
- shedding young foliage on the tops of the shoots during prolonged drought, poor care;
- poor flowering in cold conditions or when there is a need for rejuvenation;
- drying of the tips of the leaves in dry air;
- dropping buds in the dark, with poor watering or insufficient feeding.
Reproduction of the catarrhatus
Like all plants, mainly cultivated as an annual and amenable to forcing, the catharanthus is easy to propagate. apical cuttings… To do this, you just need to choose the right cutting period: for the catharanthus, the highest rooting rates are characteristic of August cuttings. But the easiest way is to cut the cuttings in the spring, during transplantation. They take root after treatment with growth stimulants in the sand under the hood.
You can also get a new generation catharanthus and from seeds… They are sown at the end of winter, in February-March, in large containers with a substrate of peat and sand. Sowing is carried out shallow, but the containers must be covered with a dark film. The seeds will be able to germinate at a temperature of about 18 degrees Celsius. Plants are transferred to the light only after the emergence of friendly shoots.
As 4 true leaves grow and grow, the plants need to be planted in separate pots with a nutritious substrate. Catharanthus can be cut and pinched, but they themselves are prone to active branching and it is better to focus on the shape of a particular plant, to resort to frequent pruning only when growth is disturbed.