Vinca minor

Periwinkle is a plant species native to parts of central and southern Europe. Transported by colonists to North America around the 1700s, Periwinkle is considered an invasive species in some regions of the United States. Used and referred to as a 'groundcover', Periwinkle is most often used to cover bare places of ground and is dense in its nature of growth. With a habit that most often chokes out competing plants and weeds, Periwinkle is also excellent for preventing soil erosion. Because of these characteristics, Perinkle was often used as a 'groundcover' which did not require mowing in cemetaries - giving it the common name grave yard vine. Periwinkle also remains aesthetically pleasing most of the year, as it tends to bloom with a light blue-violet flower throughout the spring and summer months. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the name Periwinkle is possibly taken from pervinka, the Russian name of the flower, which in turn is derived from pervi, “first,” as it is one of the first flowers of spring. Periwinkle should not be used as an edging for the lawn, as it will easily spread into the grass.

Encyclopedic Entry

According to Michael A. Dirr's Manual of Woody Landscape Plants ...

  • Common Name:

    Periwinkle, Lesser Periwinkle, Myrtle, and Creeping Myrtle

  • Popular Varieties:

    Argenteovariegata, Atropurpurea, Azurea Flore Pleno, La Grave

  • Type:

    Perennial Groundcover

  • Family-Genus-Species:

    Apocynaceae Vinca minor

  • Sun Requirements:

    Partial Sun to Full Shade

  • Size:

    3-6" high, ground-hugging plant

  • Leaves:

    Leaves are opposite, simple, elliptic, and evergreen with new growth emerging early, often March, in a handsome yellow green.

  • Hardiness:

    Zone 3 to 8, can be grown further north when protected by snow. For an idea of your plant zone please visit the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map.

  • Habit:

    Low growing, prostrate, mat forming evergreen ground cover, spreading indefinitely

  • Rate:

    Medium to fast; in a loose, organic, well drained soil will fill in very fast.

  • Flowers:

    Perfect, lilac-blue, 1" diameter, March-April. Deadhead after blooming and divide plants in fall or spring to keep them within their bounds.

  • Soil Preference:

    Will grow in moist, well-drained, loamy, sandy or clay soils. Vinca minor is not picky.

  • Landscape Value:

    Excellent ground cover; the dainty blue flowers are handsome as is the lustrous foliage; plant on 1' centers; makes its best growth in shade and here can form large carpets under the leafy canopy; the new growth emerges a rich spring green and the flowers appear at the same time; flowers over a long period; never really spectacular unless viewed close up; too often large seas of the plant are used in dense shade

  • Fertilization:

    While decaying leaves are a suggested source of nutrition for the plant, you can fertilize with basic store bought plant foods (both slow release solid and water soluable) and manure for established plants every other year. It is recommended that you fertilize in the early spring of these years.

  • Diseases & Insects:

    Blight, canker and dieback, leaf spots, and root rot; the canker and dieback (Phomopsis livella) disease have been significant problems, the shoots become dark brown, wilt, and die back to the surface of the soil.

  • Planting Instructions:

    Start at the farthest away area and plant the 'groundcover' evenly and outwards (like painting yourself into a corner). Water well, and remember to water regularly until they have started to grow.

Photo Gallery

Vinca minor Vinca minor
Vinca minor Vinca minor

Spotlight Cultivars

Vinca minor 'Alba'


Alba is latin for white. The Alba cultivar is a white-flowered version of Vinca minor. The cultivar's exact origin is unknown, but it is likely a naturally occurring variation. By all accounts, the cultivar grows and flowers in the same habit as the species.

Vinca minor 'Argenteovariegata'


The Argenteovariegata cultivar is notable for its creamy, white-margined variegated leaves. The cultivar's exact origin is a mystery, but it is likely a naturally occurring mutation. Like the species, the cultivar's habit is low and spreading, and it flowers throughout the spring and early summer.

Vinca minor 'Atropurpurea'


Atropurpurea is latin for dark purple. As its name describes, the Atropurpurea cultivar is a dark-purple flowering variety of Vinca minor. The cultivar grows in the same habit as the species and flowers during the same times. Its exact origin is unknown.

Vinca minor 'Azurea Flore Pleno'

Azurea Flore Pleno

The Azurea Flore Pleno cultivar is a unique variety of Periwinkle. Billed as a double-petaled blooming type, the cultivar blooms with a center of smaller additional petals that often do not last as long as the larger petals. Like the other cultivars on this list, the origin of the variety is unknown. Azurea Flore Pleno Periwinkle is considered more bushy in habit than the species.

How is Periwinkle typically sold?

Periwinkle is typically sold in one of two fashions - Clumps and Liners. Because of the plant's dense, spreading habit, it is often difficult to distinguish between one individual specimen and another. Like most plants, Periwinkle can be sold as bareroot or by container.

Vinca minor clump


A clump is a dense cluster of individual stemmed leads that is often "tied-off" with an additional lead (as seen in the photo). Clumps are suitable for planting directly into the landscape or in larger containers. Because of this trait, you can often find Vinca minor clumps in containers for sale in local garden centers. For more immediate returns on landscaping, Vinca minor clumps are often purchased bare root. The number of stemmed leads that are in a clump directly influences the speed in which an area will be covered by plants.

Vinca minor liner


A plant liner is a term used in horticulture to refer to a very young, immature plant. These types of plants are typically sold to wholesale and retail growers for the purpose of growing them larger for eventual re-sale. Because producing or propagating supply plants can be difficult, plant liners offer an affordable, low energy solution to growers seeking stock variety. Liners are suitable for planting into small containers and are primarily perennial. Vinca minor liners can be single stemmed or multi-branched.

Where can Periwinkle be purchased?

We offer Vinca minor in several package types and sizes. We also provides 100 and 1000 plant packages of Vinca major, the larger cousin of Vinca minor. The plants are not in storage and are dug fresh on receipt of your order. To calculate how many Vinca minor clumps that you need, calculate the square footage of the desired area and then use 1 clump per square foot. The larger the clump, the faster the area will fill in as individual leads spread along the ground. When your order is received plants are harvested as soon as the weather permits, this time-frame is normally within one week. We monitor national weather conditions and temperatures for shipments. If at any time your order must be delayed for weather concerns, we will advise you by phone. We ship via Priority Mail from zip-code 37378 and DO NOT ship plants west of the Rocky Mountains.

This product may be shipped year round!

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Vinca minor at 1000 Clump Rate
Clumps at the thousand rate DO NOT include shipping. All clumps purchased at the thousand rate will be shipped in boxes with dimensions of 20"X16"X11" for your convenience. Mailed from Smartt, Tn. 37378
ClumpsPrice per ThousandBox Weight
6 to 8 leads$175.001 Box weighing 35 Ibs
8 to 10 leads$200.002 Boxes weighing 25 Ibs each
10 to 12 leads$230.002 Boxes weighing 30 Ibs each
12 to 15 leads$260.002 Boxes weighing 35 Ibs each
15 to 20 leads$310.003 Boxes weighing 30 Ibs each
20 to 30 leads$375.004 Boxes weighing 30 Ibs each