The vinca after two weeks of growth.

We mentioned a couple of weeks ago that vinca are great plants for our summer desert potted gardens.

In almost any nursery, you’ll find upright vinca, or “pacifica.” These are strong flowering plants that will survive both moderately cool temperatures and desert heat … provided they have enough water.

To the right, you can see what some vinca, planted on July 15, looked like. Above is what they look like after two weeks of blistering temperatures. That’s a lot of growth!

Here are five tips to utilizing this plant—even if you are just starting them in August:

1. Purchase four-inch, quart or gallon plants, with the plant showing good growth, and lots of roots. (Check this at the nursery if you do not see the roots coming out of the bottom.)

2. Plant vinca in the coolest hours of the early morning. Do not heavily disturb their roots but do open up the root ball before planting.

3. Water thoroughly after planting, and water them daily when dry.

4. As vinca grow, the branches will become very long. In order to encourage the plants to bush out more, trim them back often.

5. Looking down the stem, find a new growth shoot, and snip the stem just above that shoot. (See below.) Go deep into the plant to prune for best results. This will create a nicely shaped plant with abundant flowers.

Marylee is the desert’s potted garden expert. Email her with comments and questions at potteddesert@gmail.com.