Vinca is a common creeping ground cover. It is evergreen and provides a wealth of texture and even color with the variegated varieties. There are vinca major and minor with leaf and bloom size as the main differences. Vinca is most commonly found in the periwinkle color but also deep purple, white and pink. Vinca sends out long stems that will overlap into a thick mat, creating an ideal weed barrier. Vinca can easily be started from a piece of stem where roots form at the growth nodes.
Most of the vinca installed in the home landscape is a perennial variety but there is a rose-colored annual vinca. Either type has handsome 1-inch long leaves alternating on slender stems. Perennial vincas perform well in full sun to full shade. Annual vinca requires a sunny location. Vinca has rhizomes or underground stems that travel in the soil and help spread the plant. The plant produces flowers in spring and can be sown from the resulting seed. Seeds should be started indoors.
In addition to the rhizomes, which can be dug up and transplanted to create new plants, vinca grows quickly from seed. If you sow it indoors eight weeks before the last frost, you will have baby vinca to spread around your yard. An easier way to get new plants and spread them is to cut off any of the stems that have rooted on the surface of the soil. Any stem that touches the ground can root at the growth point. Cut off the stem, including the roots, and plant the vinca in an appropriate location.
Vinca spreads the quickest when it has a location that furnishes all its needs. Partial sun locations provide the best lighting for growth and flowering. Well-drained soils are necessary to keep the roots and rhizomes dry. Vinca is drought-tolerant and doesn't require supplemental watering except on the hottest days. Fertilize vinca with a granular time-release fertilizer in early spring to encourage new growth and spread.
Control of Vinca
Vinca can grow up and around tree trunks, over other plants and invade the grass and pathways. You can trim or shear it every fall or early spring to ensure that the plants will not spread where you don't want them to. You do not need to worry about the seeds from the flowers as most of them will not germinate. Just the cuttings can root and spread so it is wise to take them to the dump or landfill rather than your compost bin.