The common periwinkle plant is often spotted creeping down steep hillsides and banks.

Periwinkle Plants

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Periwinkle Plants are a Beautiful, Spreading Vine, Flowering Perennial

Common Periwinkle (Vinca Minor)- Vinca minor L.

  First brought to North America in the 1700s, this native European groundcover is still a popular ornamental. A low-growing vine with small glossy leaves, common periwinkle (also known as Vinca Minor) produces tiny, five-petaled blossoms that range from white to periwinkle-blue. These blooms appear throughout the spring, summer, and early fall, providing season-long interest. The foliage is most commonly a deep green, but variegated cultivars do exist as well. Found throughout North America, common periwinkle is evergreen in mild climates and perennial, even where winters are snowy and harsh. It is a vigorous grower; as its sporadic blossoms do not typically produce viable seeds, common periwinkle spreads instead through underground rhizomes. The slender vines form a dense mat of lush foliage, which requires no clipping, pruning, or fertilizer to flourish. This makes common periwinkle a first erosion-control planting on banks and shaded areas where other plants would do poorly. Though it will tolerate occasional traffic, Vinca Minor is not well suited to high-traffic areas such as yards or walkways. It is well adapted to a variety of soils, thriving in slightly acidic to alkaline environments and well- to poorly-drained grounds. Though it prefers at least partial shade, common periwinkle will grow well even in full sun provided it receives adequate watering. Common periwinkle is so adaptable and vigorous that in some parts of the U.S. and Canada, it has become an invasive species, crowding out native plants in forests and along waterways. For this reason, care should be taken in choosing a location for these plants. Opt for sites where the spreading vines can easily be controlled by cutting or edging, since applying herbicides can damage the plants' root network and kill off those meant to be preserved as well as the overgrowth. 

Periwinkle Plants is Excellent for Erosion Control , Cutting or Edging 

The Vinca Minor, known to most of us as the lesser, or dwarf, periwinkle, is a common garden plant, found throughout central and southern Europe, with a growing zone that extends west to Portugal and east to the Caucasus and Turkey. In North America, where it is not a native plant but has been cultivated, the Vinca Minor is usually referred to as a creeping myrtle. It is a flowering shrub that spreads, or creeps, along the ground, putting down colonies of roots along its path. While the Vinca Minor has been known to edge up available structures to heights of 15 or 16 feet, it is not known for its climbing. The plant is generally found in temperate zones, usually as garden ground cover, where it is useful for choking out unwanted weed growth and providing a green backdrop throughout the year. The evergreen leaves of the Vinca Minor, elliptical in shape, grow to a length of 1 to 2 inches, and width of about 1 inch. The leaves have a pleasant sheen and thick texture. Through spring and up until midsummer, sometimes even into early fall, the plant produces a gentle, violet flower. The flower, just over an inch in diameter, is usually solitary with five petals. The Vinca Minor's presence in North America stems mainly from the flower's common usage at graves and cemeteries across the American South. Its presence in that region today is still a standard indicator of an unmarked burial site. Vinca Minor isn't just known for its looks: it has brains too, or, at the very least, it helps the human brain. The plant's medicinal value is derived from the presence of 50 different alkaloids, though most commonly harvested for vincamine. Found in the leaves of the plant, and comprising up to 65% of the Vinca Minor's alkaloid composition, vincamine is marketed as the nootropic, Oxybral SR. Nootropics are known as smart drugs, thought to combat aging and enhance cognitive processing.

  Periwinkle, or vinca vine, is an exceptional and classic ground cover, excellent for controlling erosion on embankments and hillsides. Hardy in Zones 4-8, it is drought resistant and easy to grow. Periwinkle grows best in acidic soil in partial shade and needs good drainage, but can adapt to a variety of conditions. This spreading vine gets its name from the beautiful periwinkle blue flowers that dot the glossy green foliage in spring. It reaches four inches in height, but one plant may spread several feet across. An evergreen perennial, periwinkle, is a hardy plant that is beautiful underneath trees where grass may be difficult to grow. It is deer and rabbit resistant and will provide years of beauty naturalized in woodland areas, as a ground cover, or even as a container plant.


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