Heat-Tolerant Beauties for Gardens and Containers

Melinda Myers

Melinda Myers has written more than 20 gardening books, including Small Space Gardening. She hosts The Great Courses ‘How to Grow Anything: Food Gardening for Everyone’ DVD set and the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment TV & radio segments. Myers is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine and was commissioned by AAS for her expertise to write this article. Myers’ web site is www.melindamyers.com.

Photo credit:  photo courtesy of Suntory Flowers

Heat-Tolerant Beauties for Gardens and Containers

by Melinda Myers

Boost the summer-long beauty and heat tolerance in your gardens and containers with new varieties of annual vinca (Catharanthus). The unique Soiree vinca varieties provide added appeal with their cute, double, and ruffled flowers.

Annual vincas, also known as Madagascar and Rose periwinkle, thrive in full sun and well-drained soil. Once established they are drought tolerant. Similar in growth habit as impatiens but these flowers thrive in hot sunny locations where impatiens struggle. Hardy in zones 10 and 11, vincas are grown as an annual in most parts of the country.

Include annual vincas in containers, hanging baskets, and garden beds. Mix them with other plants or allow them to shine on their own.

Soiree Kawaii vincas light up any garden with their vibrant mini flowers. You’ll enjoy an abundance of flowers that cover the 9 to 18” tall by 12 to 18” wide mound of glossy deep green foliage. No need to prune away long leggy branches as this plant maintains its compact habit all season long. Kawaii means cute in Japanese and these flowers certainly are just that.

Select from eight Soiree Kawaii (suntoryflowers.com) flower colors ranging from white to coral, purple, and red. Add some sizzle with Paprika Red, a patriot flare with the Lady Liberty Mix, or a harmonious mix of pinks and purple in the Berry Blast mix. Grow White Peppermint, Coral, or Coral Reef Soireeâ Kawaii if the disease phytophthora has been a problem in the past. These three are as resistant to this disease as Cora XDR, the gold standard of phytophthora resistance.

Visitors to your garden will take a second look when you add Soiree Double and Flamenco vincas to the landscape. Their unique flowers don’t look like a typical vinca, adding a bit more pizzazz to any planting and combination.

Soiree Doubles have two distinct layers of frilly petals and produce an abundance of blooms. They are more vigorous, with a larger growth habit than Soiree Kawaii. These plants have a larger leaf and body. You can select from white-, pink-, or orchid-colored flowers that bloom all season long. Don’t be fooled by their delicate appearance, Soiree Doubles are as heat tolerant as other annual vincas.

Unlike any other vinca, the Soiree Flamenco puts on a display as fancy as that of a flamenco dancer. The ruffled petals may be solid or bicolor. This plant grows 8 to 12” tall and 15 to 20” wide. It has the same heat tolerance, glossy green foliage, and compact growth habit as the other Soiree vincas.

Senorita Pink Flamenco flowers have a dark pink eye surrounded by a lighter pink blending into the white outer edges of the frilly petals. Contrast that with the deep maroon ruffled petals with a bright terracotta edge of Salsa Red. Salmon Glow’s white eye contrasts nicely with salmon peach. Pink Twist has the most curled flowers in a lovely pink, adding to its appeal.

Look for opportunities to add some unique flare to this year’s garden and containers. You’ll enjoy their season-long beauty and the oohs and aahs they inspire.

Melinda Myers has written more than 20 gardening books, including the recently released Midwest Gardener’s Handbook, 2nd Edition and Small Space Gardening. She hosts The Great Courses How to Grow Anything DVD and instant video series and the nationally syndicated Melind’s Garden Moment radio program. Myers is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine and was commissioned by Suntory Flowers for her expertise in writing this article. Myers’ website is www.MelindaMyers.com.

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