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Two colorful bloomers that bask in the heat.

for hot spots in your garden, these two all-summer bloomers offer neat foliage, abundant flowers, and undemanding ways. Even in the desert, you can usually grow vinca and verbena in full sun; in the most searing climates, you'll probably get better-looking plants by providing a little afternoon shade, particularly until roots have become established.

Both plants are vigorous growers that can spread 1 to 2 feet across by summer's end. They start blooming early, displaying their colors from 3-inch pots or even smaller cell-packs. For an instant display, start from gallon cans; plants from smaller containers will take four to six weeks to fill out and catch up.

Space them 1 to 2 feet apart: by summer's end they should close ranks. They'll grow in poor soil, with infrequent feeding and watering, but it's best to water regularly until roots are well established. Container plants need frequent watering.

Both plants do well in areas such as dry banks, parking strips, rock walls, or along driveways. Trim back straggly growth once a year in late fall or early spring. In cold-winter climates, they're annuals.

Peruvian verbena comes in white, rose, salmon, lavender, and purple, often with a contrasting white eye. These perennials usually stay 8 to 10 inches tall.

Vinca rosea comes in many variations of white, pink, or rose, with or without a contrasting eye of rose or red. The old-fashioned kinds grow about 1-1/2 feet tall. Newer varieties with "Little" prefacing their name stay about a foot tall; most compact are 'Little Linda' (deep violet-rose), 'morning Mist' (white with a red eye), and 'Snowflakes' (pure white).

Creeping kinds hug the ground at about 3 inches tall, spreading 2 feet across. These include 'Pink Carousel', 'Polka Dot (white with rose eye), and the Carpet series (pink, rose, white, mixed colors).
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Copyright 1984 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Sunset
Date:Jul 1, 1984
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