The vinca plant, also called creeping myrtle or dwarf periwinkle, is a creeping ground cover available in large or small growth habits. Vinca minor is the low growing variety while vinca major is approximately twice as tall. The plant is native to Europe, northern Africa and central Asia, where it found growing in shaded areas.
Vinca is a herbaceous evergreen perennial that has the growth habit of a trailing ground cover. The minor plant variety reaches a height of 6 inches and spread of 18 inches while the major variety grows double in size to a height of 12 inches and spread of 3 feet. The plant produces lavender-blue blooms that are 1 inch in diameter from May to June. Sporadic bloom growth may appear through the summer months depending on the soil moisture.
Vinca plants grow well in most soil types but prefer a sandy loam or clay loam that is in full to partial sunlight. Full sunlight will stimulate strong flower production while partially shaded sunlight will stimulate strong foliage production with fewer blossoms. According to Floridata, the minor plant prefers shadier locations than the major. The plant is hardy in USDA growing zones 7 through 9 where the winters are mild to prevent die off.
Vinca requires a planting area the has enough room to accommodate the large trailing spread. The plant creates a thick ground cover that is effective for preventing soil erosion on slopes and banks. Vinca grows well around spring bulbs, as the plants are able to penetrate through the vinca foliage. Vinca major works well in hanging boxes and containers where it will hang over the edge.
Propagate new vinca plants by dividing sections of the root crown. Dig plant shoots that have rooted, making sure to remove most of the root ball. Plant the divided vinca immediately in a new location at the same depth it was growing previously. Water the plant well to stimulate root production. Space the new plants 18 inches apart to allow room for their spreading habit.
Vinca is an invasive plant with shallow root stems that spread quickly. Plant vinca in an area where it is possible to control with a border. The plant is susceptible to the fungal disease stem blight. Symptoms of stem blight are the presence of dead stems and brown foliage through out the groundcover. Apply a fungicide to the infected area and remove severely damaged plants. Vinca plants are poisonous to humans and animals if ingested.