With bright green foliage and colorful bluish-purple blooms, Vinca (Vinca minor), is a ground cover that will add color to the landscape with very little maintenance. Also known as "creeping myrtle" or "periwinkle," vinca will grow in soil that is less than perfect, and once established, will tolerate drought. However, vinca prefers partial shade, and won't do well in bright sunlight. Vinca will bloom in March and April, and will often provide repeat performances throughout the growing season, even in hot weather. Vinca also does well in a patio container.
Select healthy vinca bedding plants at a garden center or greenhouse. Choose compact plants with bright green leaves. Avoid long, leggy plants and plants with yellowing leaves, which can indicate root rot.
Plant vinca in well-drained soil and partial sunlight. Cultivate the soil to a depth of at least 6 inches, and improve the soil by mixing in an inch of compost or well-rotted manure. Plant vinca 8 to 12 inches apart as a flower bed border. If you're planting vinca as a ground cover, allow only 6 to 8 inches between each plant. Water the vinca deeply immediately after planting. Water at ground level, and avoid splashing the leaves.
Fertilize the vinca vines monthly, using a general purpose water-soluble or granular fertilizer. Apply the fertilizer as directed on the package label.
Keep vinca damp for the first season, while the roots are getting established. After that, water vinca sparingly when the weather is hot and dry. Otherwise, vinca requires no water. Spread an inch of organic mulch around the vinca plants to keep the soil temperature moist and deter weeds.
Pinch the tips of the vinca vines occasionally to encourage bushy plants. The vinca vines require no pruning, and because the blooms will fall off on their own, it requires no deadheading. Vinca will develop new roots as it grows and will eventually form a dense carpet. If vinca outgrows its boundaries, it can safely be divided in spring. Dig up a clump of vinca, along with the attached roots. Plant the divisions, or give them away.
Things You Will Need
- Vinca bedding plants
- Compost or well-rotted manure
- General purpose water-soluble or granular fertilizer
- Organic mulch
- Vinca can also be grown by seed. Plant the vinca seed indoors in planting trays filled with commercial potting soil 10 to 12 weeks before the last frost in your area. Cover the seeds with plastic, put the trays in a warm place and keep the soil moist. Plant the seedlings outdoors when the daytime temperatures are at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit.