Common Periwinkle (Minor)

The Common Periwinkle (Minor) is generally described as a perennial vine or forb/herb. This is not native to the U.S. (United States) and has its most active growth period in the spring and summer . The Common Periwinkle (Minor) has dark green foliage and inconspicuous blue flowers, with conspicuous fruits or seeds. Leaves are retained year to year. The Common Periwinkle (Minor) has a long life span relative to most other plant species and a moderate growth rate.

The Common Periwinkle (Minor) is easily found in nurseries, garden stores and other plant dealers and distributors. It can be propagated by bare root, container. Note that cold stratification is not required for seed germination and the plant cannot survive exposure to temperatures below -33°F. has medium tolerance to drought and restricted water conditions.

Uses of : Landscaping, Medicinal, Culinary, etc.

Erosion control: Its use should normally be restricted to partially shaded areas and north or east exposures on ramps and inclines. It should be considered on roadsides in specially adapted locations and sites.

Ornamental and beautification: Common periwinkle is particularly desirable as an attractive evergreen ground cover in mild climates. It is valuable on yards, banks, or odd areas as a low maintenance ground cover. It tolerates light traffic but should not be used where frequent trampling occurs.

General Characteristics

Vinca minor L., common periwinkle, is a perennial evergreen ground cover that is winter hardy. It is closely related to the big leaf periwinkle (V. major L.), except in size and hardiness. Common periwinkle seldom exceeds a height of 6 inches although runners may trail long distances on the ground. The runners root at the node under moist conditions. The thick glossy leaves form a good ground cover. Small blue flowers occur indeterminately from April to September.

Required Growing Conditions

Common periwinkle is adapted to mild climates. It usually requires part shade and ample moisture, but will tolerate full sun if it is adequately watered. It is more hardy than big leaf periwinkle. Moisture and exposure are often more restrictive than soil type on determining adaptation. Common periwinkle is adapted to a wide range of soils. It is found on well drained to poorly drained soils that can be calcareous, alkaline to slightly acidic, and medium textured to fine textured. The plant should be used where there is adequate moisture.

Common periwinkle is distributed throughout the East.

Cultivation and Care

Plants may be established from rooted cuttings produced in flats or from plant division. Plant on a spacing of 18 inches x 18 inches. Fertilizer should be applied for vigorous establishment. Mulch critical areas immediately after planting. Planting can be done any time of the year when moisture is adequate for establishment. This should ordinarily be planted on areas that can be sprinkled or otherwise irrigated or on sites where average annual precipitation is over 20 inches.

General Upkeep and Control

Little or no maintenance is required after establishment. Well-established plantings may be clipped to promote new growth. Chemical or mechanical weeding may be need to control unwanted vegetation.

Pests and Potential Problems Common periwinkle can be affected by blight, canker, leaf spot, and root rot.

Control Please contact your local agricultural extension specialist or county weed specialist to learn what works best in your area and how to use it safely. Always read label and safety instructions for each control method. Trade names and control measures appear in this document only to provide specific information. USDA, NRCS does not guarantee or warranty the products and control methods named, and other products may be equally effective.

Cultivars, Improved, and Selected Materials (and area of origin) ‘Alba’, ‘Atropurpurea’, ‘Bowles’, ‘Variegata’, ‘Multiplex.’ Seedlings are available at most commercial nurseries.

Plant Basics
Growth Rate Moderate
General Type Vine, Forb/herb
Growth Period Spring, Summer
Growth Duration Perennial
Lifespan Long
Plant Nativity Introduced to U.S.
Commercial Availability Routinely Available
Physical Characteristics
Bloom Period Early Summer
Displays Fall Colors No
Shape/Growth Form Stoloniferous
Drought Tolerance Medium
Shade Tolerance Tolerant
Height When Mature 0.3
Vegetative Spread Moderate
Flower Color Blue
Flower Conspicuousness Yes
Seed Spread Rate None
Gardening Characteristics
Propagations (Ways to Grow) Bare Root, Container
Moisture Requirements Low
Cold Stratification Required No
Minimum Temperature -33
Soil Depth for Roots 8
Toxic to Nearby Plants No
Toxic to Livestock No
After-Harvest Resprout Ability Yes
Responds to Coppicing No
Growth Requirements
pH Range 5.5–7.7 pH
Precipitation Range 30–30 inches/yr
Planting Density 2700–19000 indiv./acre
Soil Textures Coarse, Fine, Medium
Soil Depth for Roots 8
Minimum Frost-Free Days 130 day(s)
Salinity Tolerance Low
CaCO3 Tolerance Medium
Sustainability & Use
Leaf Retention Yes
Palatability Low
Fire Resistant Yes

Source: USDA, NRCS, PLANTS Database,
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA