Vinca Minor Vs. Vinca Major

(Image: Periwinkle image by pognyc from

Vinca minor (common perriwinkle) and Vinca major (bigleaf perriwinkle) are evergreen plants belonging to the Apocynaceae or dogbane family. They grow across the United States and are poisonous, potentially invasive and have cultivars.

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Vinca major flowers have five petals, are light blue-violet and grow 2 inches across, and singly on the end of the stems. They bloom during May and June.

Vinca minor flowers are also blue-violet and grow singly, but are 0.5 inches across and grow at leaf axils. They bloom in late March through early April and in May and June.


Vinca major leaves are heart to oval shaped, shiny and dark green, and grow 2 to 3 inches long. They grow alternately, opposite each other on the stem.

Vinca minor leaves are also shiny, dark green and oval-shaped and grow alternately on the stem.


Both Vinca minor and Vinca major root from their stems at nodes. Vinca major stems droop to root, while Vinca minor stems trail.

Growth and Size

Vinca major stems grow 8 to 18 inches tall, while Vinca minor stems grow 4 to 6 inches tall.

Both Vinca major and Vinca minor are non-climbing plants that grow in mats.


Vinca major and Vinca minor prefer moist and well-drained soil, and partial shade to shade.


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