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How to Care for Vincas

By Kim Hoyum ; Updated September 21, 2017

Vinca plants are very easy to care for; they will tolerate drought, shade and heat well. They don’t require a lot of specialized care, and will thrive if you follow some general guidelines for water, sun and fertilizer. Vincas can grow either outdoors or indoors. There are two main kinds of vinca: vinca minor, the perennial flowering groundcover, and vinca major, the annual vine.

Caring for Vincas

Choose a site where they will grow well. Plant vincas in shady spots or in barren or sandy areas, since they tolerate poor soil well also. If you don’t need them for that purpose, plant them in well-drained, loose soil in partial shade for best growth.

Add about an inch of bark chips, mulch or dry compost to keep trailing leaves and runners off the ground. This will help prevent pests and diseases later, and also helps keep down weeds and conserves water.

Fertilize vincas with a small amount of blended 10-10-10 fertilizer once a month, or less frequently if you want to limit their growth. Use a granular or water-soluble fertilizer for easiest feeding.Don’t overwater to avoid rot problems. Drip irrigation or soaker hoses are ideal for watering vinca.

For regular care, water occasionally. Longstanding vinca minor beds need little to no watering at all, while vinca major is less drought-tolerant and needs slightly more frequent watering. Vinca major and vinca minor both will tell you when they need water when their leaves begin to wilt.

Control either vinca by mowing or cutting it back once a year, to keep it free from disease and growing healthily. The cutback helps the plants add new growth afterward. After cutting or mowing, fertilize and water.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Mulch
  • 10-10-10 fertilizer
  • Mower or hand scythe

Tips

  • You won't need to deadhead vincas; old blooms simply drop off and add to the soil.
  • Vinca minor does best in hardiness Zones 4 to 9. It is the cold-hardier of the two vincas, tolerating winter temperatures as cold as minus 20 F. In colder zones it becomes an annual, and dies in the winter. In very warm climates it needs a more shaded location.
  • Vinca major grows best in zones 6 to 9. It is considered hardy up to zone 5, but will certainly die off in the winter in the colder zones. Above zone 8, vinca major needs a shadier spot and more watering, but becomes a perennial, and under the right conditions can become invasive in very warm zones.

Warnings

  • When watering vinca, direct the water onto the mulch or soil rather than the plants, to avoid fungal infections that can happen when the plants themselves get wet.
  • Vincas are largely pest-free, except for aphids. If aphids turn up, wash them off the plants with a hard spray of water from a hose.

About the Author

 

Kim Hoyum is a Michigan-based freelance writer. She has been a proofreader, writer, reporter and editor at monthly, weekly and daily publications for five years. She has a Bachelor of Science in writing and minor in journalism from Northern Michigan University.