Care of Vinca Minor

Overview

Vinca minor, also known by its common name, periwinkle, spreads quickly through the garden or lawn by sending out long, trailing shoots that become new plants. Popular as a ground cover because of its fast growth, the plant also produces small purple, blue or white flowers in early spring and attractive, evergreen foliage throughout the year. This perennial plant performs well when grown under trees or shrubs, on shady slopes and banks for erosion control, and when interplanted with spring-flowering bulbs. Vinca minor tolerates winter temperatures without sustaining damage in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 3 through 8 and requires little care once established.

Step 1

Plant vinca minor during late spring, once the soil warms and becomes workable. Choose a planting location that receives partial sun to full shade throughout the day and consists of rich, moist, well-drained soil for optimal growth. Space vinca minor plants 12 to 18 inches apart.

Step 2

Apply mulch to the ground around vinca minor to prevent weeds from growing and to provide insulation for the plant's roots. Spread a 1- to 3-inch layer over the soil, beginning at least 2 inches from the base of the plant to provide necessary air circulation.

Step 3

Water vinca minor once every week during spring, summer and fall, allowing the soil to dry slightly between each application. Do not water during winter, when the plant is dormant and needs less moisture to survive. Too much water during winter can be detrimental to the plant's health.

Step 4

Feed your vinca minor plant once per year during spring using a complete 10-10-10 NPK fertilizer to boost growth and flower production. Water lightly before and after applying to reduce the risk of injury to the plant's roots. Apply at the rate described by the manufacturer's instructions for the best results.

Step 5

Prune vinca minor whenever necessary to keep the plant under control and visually attractive. It may become invasive without regular pruning. Use pruning shears to cut the plant back close to the ground during early spring to encourage new growth throughout the season.

Things You'll Need

  • Mulch
  • Fertilizer
  • Pruning shears

References

  • Clemson University Cooperative Extension: Periwinkle
  • Ohio State University: Vinca Minor
  • "New York Gardener's Guide"; Ralph Snodsmith; 2004

Who Can Help

  • USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
Keywords: vinca minor, periwinkle, ground cover

About this Author

Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. Sidhe's work has been published on numerous Web sites, including Gardenguides.com.