(veen' kah)

Common name: Vinca, Periwinkle

Family: Apocynaceae, Dogbane

Height x width: varies with species

Growth rate: fast

Foliage: opposite, glossy, evergreen, flowering and non-flowering stems (photo courtesy commons wikimedia, Roberta F)

Flowers: solitary, funnel-shaped, late spring to early summer, in leaf axils, usually blue

Hardiness: varies with species

Soil: moist, well-drained, tolerates poor and dry

Light: part shade to shade, tolerates sun in North if sufficient moisture

Pests and Problems: leaf spots, stem rot (seldom problems)

Landscape habit, uses: vigorous aggressive groundcover, slopes as for erosion control, woodland gardens, cascading from containers

Other interest: not to be confused with the annual periwinkle Catharanthus; native to Europe; names from the Latin vincio meaning to bind, and later Middle English per wynke meaning same, refering to use in making wreaths which in Middle Ages were placed on heads of criminals on their way to execution; in Italy it was known as Fiore de morte being placed on bodies of dead infants; later and still occasionally today it is known as "Joy of the Ground"

Other culture: not to be planted where aggresive spread among other plants is not desired

Propagation: division of rooted shoots (non-flowering stems root at nodes), layering, cuttings


major (maa' jor)--Large Periwinkle, zones 6-9 (may need some protection in 6), 12-18" x 24"

minor (mii' nore)--Common, Littleleaf Periwinkle, zones 4-9, 6-12" x 24-48" or more


Those marked * are most commonly seen in U.S. commerce although species are most common.
Cultivar species flowers foliage
'Alba':f. alba minor    
f. alba minor white  
'Albo-plena' minor white, double  
'Albo-variegata' minor white creamy variegated
'Argenteo-variegata' minor blue white variegated
*'Atropurpurea' minor reddish-purple  
'Aureola':'Golden Bowles'      
'Aureovariegata' minor blue deep yellow variegated
*'Bowle's Variety' minor light blue  
'Dart's Blue' minor light blue improved Bowles, less disease
'Elegantissima':'Variegata' major    
'Emily Joy' minor white, pink blush  
'Flore Pleno' minor blue, double  
'Gertrude Jekyll':'Miss Jekyll'      
'Golden Bowles' minor light blue golden margins
subsp. hirsuta major blue, narrow large, hairy
'Honeydew' minor lavender blue chartreuse
'Illumination' minor light blue green edges, gold/white centers
'La Grave':'Bowles Variety'      
'Maculata' major deep blue golden, green centers, red petioles
'Miss Jekyll' minor pure white, many  
'Plena':'Flore Pleno'      
*'Ralph Shugert' minor sky blue glossy, wide white margins, patented
'Rosea' minor pink  
*'Sterling Silver' minor dark blue white margins
*'Variegata' major    
'Variegata' minor pale blue yellow variegated

('Illumination' photo courtesy, pjsaund)

©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS123 course.

Return to  Perry's Perennial Pages | HGPO course | PSS123 course