Organic Horticulture in the Mid-Atlantic/Vinca minor

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Vica minor, usually called Periwinkle or simply Vinca, is a spreading evergreen vine commonly grown as a ground cover. It bears a large set of flowers in mid-spring, and then flowers sporadically the remainder of the year. Various cultivars are available in the trade, with flower colors ranging from white through pink, reddish-purple, lavender, and dark purple. Cultivars with variegated leaves are also available.


V. minor grows well in both full sun and fairly deep shade, though a bit thinner in shade. It spreads as a vine, rooting both at the nodes and between the nodes. It does best in a rich soil, but tolerates poor soils. It is drought tolerant once established, but does not do well in wet soils.

As a ground cover, V. minor spreads rapidly, but does not grow dense enough to suppress weeds. It can also be very difficult to keep weeded if spreading perennial weeds gain a foothold (such as Duchesnea indica, Artemisia vulgaris, Cirsium arvense, Vetch, etc.), since the wire-like vines of the plant form a dense tangle that makes it difficult to remove the weeds without also doing damage to the plant itself.