Periwinkle (Vinca minor) a groundcover in the shade loves the shady acidic soil under Oak Trees and any other place where you want nothing else to grow. Perwinkle will take some sun but will not thrive without adequate rain (or watering) during the first season. I want to caution you that you cannot plant this groundcover with any other plant because Perwinkle does not “play well with others” and will choke out any other plant- weed or flower. After it has been established (in 1 season) it will be drought tolerant and grow wherever it touches.
Here in zone 7 Perwinkle starts to bloom in mid March and in colder climates may start in April. The pretty ‘periwinkle blue’ flowers make it an attractive groundcover but I have never seen any bees or pollinators on it. Periwinkle spreads quickly by rooting as each stem grows across the top of the ground. A couple plants can fill up an area around a tree in a season!
Perwinkle is invasive and hard to eradicate in zone 7 (and up). The dark, glossy leaves of the Periwinkle make this a hard to kill plant with weed killer because rain and chemicals just roll off the leaves. Just like ivy, you need to pull Perwinkle out of the ground and dispose of it in garbage bags and never throw this in the wooded areas where native plants exist. I have read it does not spread into wooded undisturbed areas but that is wrong! Here in SE Virginia the plant is seen in native areas where it escaped someone’s backyard garden. I have tried to pull this up in my front bed under my foundation bushes every year for 7 years with it returning again and again stronger than ever.
If you plant a groundcover, not just Periwinkle, you need to keep it controlled and know that it can be invasive. Just because it is sold at big box garden centers, does not need it should be planted. If you want to think about groundcovers, think about native evergreen ferns such as Christmas fern which is great for erosion control and will be green all winter.
Be responsible when planting and know what you are planting. Thanks for stopping by and if you ever have a question, feel free to contact me. Happy gardening!
Creating. Inspiring. Gardening without the rules!
2016 copyrighted material C Renee Fuller @The Garden Frog Boutique
Madeline Hoherd says
When my granddaughter Chloe had leukemia, she received the chemotherapy drug vincristine, which comes from the vinca plant. We planted a little garden of vinca minor just outside her dining room window where she could see it growing, and we called her our little flower child, because that was what was running in her veins and helping her fight the cancer. I have vinca as a ground cover in two areas of my yard, and I get sentimental when I see it, remembering the brave fight that Chloe went through — and came out victorious! Thank God, today she is a strong, lively pre-teen.
That is a beautiful memory and story. thank you for reading and I am so glad that this plant has a special place in your life!