How to Grow Periwinkle – Vinca

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Periwinkle, Vinca, is a slender-stemmed, evergreen subshrub or perennial with glossy, dark green pointed leaves topped with lavender-blue flowers in spring, reblooming in summer and fall. Periwinkle spreads rapidly and makes an attractive ground cover in partially shady spots.

Get to know Periwinkle

  • Plant type: Evergreen spring-blooming groundcover
  • Growing Zones and range: 4-9
  • Hardiness: Half-hardy
  • Height and width: 4”- 6” tall, 12”- 18” wide
  • Foliage: Glossy, dark green pointed leaves 1-2 inches long
  • Flowers: Blue, white, or pink about ¾ inch across
  • Bloom time: Spring, reblooms in summer and fall
  • Uses: Groundcover for erosion control on slopes; groundcover beneath trees and in shady spots
  • Botanical name: Vinca minor
  • Common name: Periwinkle, creeping myrtle

Where to plant Periwinkle

  • Plant periwinkle in full sun to medium shade in Zones 4-6; light shade to full shade in hot-summer areas of Zones 7-9.
  • Grow periwinkle in humus-rich, well-drained soil.
Periwinkle, Vinca minor
Periwinkle, Vinca minor

When to plant Periwinkle

  • Set established periwinkle plants in spring or fall.

Planting and spacing Periwinkle

  • Space periwinkle 12 to 18 inches apart.
  • Add aged compost to the soil at planting time.

How to water and feed Periwinkle

  • Periwinkle needs moderate to ample water; keep the soil evenly moist.
  • Fertilize periwinkle with a slow-release fertilizer.

Periwinkle care

  • Mulch periwinkle to prevent weeds from competing with periwinkle and to conserve soil moisture.
  • Shear plants in early summer to stimulate thicker growth
  • Periwinkle is prone to a few pests or diseases.

Periwinkle propagation

  • Divide plants at any time or root cuttings in summer.

Periwinkle varieties to grow

  • V. minor ‘Bowles’ is a dense grower; it is a heavy bloomer.
  • V. minor ‘Aurea’ has all-gold leaves.
  • V. minorAlba-variegata’ has green and gold leaves.
  • Vinca major very similar to vinca minor but more aggressive grower and can become invasive if not contained; leaves are larger.

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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