Vinca Minor

The Vinca minor, also known as common periwinkle, is best known for being an easy ground cover with periwinkle blue flowers in spring.

A vinca minor plant.

Photo: briandrum (Flickr)

Vinca is low maintenance and grows both in shade or sun, but does best in partial shade.

Vinca minor is a perennial ground cover which is evergreen. It trails and roots where it touches the ground, so it spreads easily. The shiny oval leaves are a good foil for spring bulbs.

In the early spring, dead leaves can be sheared off with hedge trimmers.  Vinca is low maintenance and grows both in shade or sun, but does best in partial shade.  It is often useful on slopes that are hard to mow.  The Vinca with periwinkle blue flowers in April and May and is the most popular. However, white and purple flowering vincas are also available.

There is also an annual vinca, which is a taller bedding plant that has larger leaves and flowers. This annual Vinca is heat and drought tolerant and loves full sun.

Common Associations with Vinca Minor

Vinca minor, our perennial groundcover, is also known as common periwinkle, lesser periwinkle, and running myrtle.  Because it is evergreen, Vinca minor is the symbol of fidelity and friendship.  It is also the floral emblem of the city of Geneva in Switzerland.

Vinca was used medicinally for years: the shoots were boiled and eaten to prevent nightmares, and the leaves were eaten raw to stop nosebleeds.  However, nowadays it is best known for being an easy groundcover with periwinkle blue flowers in spring.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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  • invasive

    Once established, Vinca minor forms a dense carpet to the exclusion of other plants. This creates
    a problem where it is competing with native flora. In ideal growth conditions,
    Vinca minor can spread with great rapidity by means of its arching stolons, which root at the
    tips. Dry or cold weather may temporarily set growth back, but it quickly resprouts and regains
    lost ground coverage. It grows most vigorously in moist soil with only partial sun, but it can grow in the
    deepest shade and even in poor soil.

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