The Vinca flower

MANILA, Philippines - One way to keep your garden colorful during the summer season is to plant the Periwinkle plant, or as we call it, the Vinca. This plant can tolerate heat and drought so it's perfect for the summer. The Vinca is easy to grow as it requires little or no attention at all. It blooms with white, pink, purple, red, and violet flowers. The new colors are added varieties to our common Chichirika, which only comes in white and purple. The plant grows like a weed and could successfully reseed itself. It can bloom throughout the summer.

The genus Vinca is also known as the Madagascar Periwinkle or Myrtle. It is native to North America, Europe, China, and India. Aside from its colorful flower, it's popular because of its glossy and verdant foliage. The Vinca is often used for borders, edging, groundcover, or as a bedding plant. It can also be planted in containers since it grows up to a maximum of two feet only.

The Vinca can be exposed to full sunlight but it can also thrive in semi-shaded areas. It can be watered every other day. It is best fertilized with a general purpose fertilizer such as the complete 14-14-14. The plant is seldom infested with insects or diseases but fungus problems can occur during the rainy season. The fungus can be eliminated by spraying the plant with a dilute solution of fungicide. The plant's seeds may be collected from its mature follicles and used for the next planting.

Along with its relative, the Chichirika, the Vinca plant has medicinal purposes. It can lower your blood pressure, sugar level, and help treat eye and lung infections, among others.

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