Vinca Or Periwinkle Flower Growing Guide

A comprehensive vinca or periwinkle flower growing guide that will help you get resilient plants and charming blossoms. I love Vinca flowers because they are an excellent choice for gardeners seeking a low-maintenance, versatile ground cover.

Vinca Flower Growing Guide

These evergreen perennials serve as excellent ground covers, characterized by their glossy green leaves and star-shaped flowers in hues of blue, purple, white, and pink.

I have used them widely for ground cover, erosion control on slopes, and filling areas under trees and shrubs where grass may not thrive.

Beyond their practical uses, vincas enhance gardens with their lush foliage and vibrant flowers, contributing to aesthetic appeal.

Types of Vinca Flowers

Vinca Minor (Common Periwinkle)

Vinca minor is distinguished by its smaller leaves and flowers compared to Vinca major. It is a hardy plant that adapts well to various conditions, making it a popular choice for ground cover.

Bowles’s Variety: Known for its prolific blue flowers and vigorous growth, it is ideal for dense ground coverage.

Atropurpurea: Features deep purple flowers, adding a rich color to gardens and landscapes.

Vinca Major (Greater Periwinkle)

Vinca major has larger leaves and flowers, and it tends to grow more vigorously. This species is also used as a ground cover but requires more space due to its expansive growth habit.

Variegata: Recognized by its variegated leaves with creamy white edges, adding visual interest to garden spaces.

Alba: Boasts pure white flowers, providing a striking contrast to the typical blue and purple blooms.

Planting Vinca

Vinca flowers thrive in various light conditions, from partial shade to full sun. However, they perform best in partial shade, especially in hotter climates where full sun might cause stress. Check this post on the best partial shade flowers.

Vinca prefers well-drained soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH. While they tolerate poor soil conditions, enriching the soil with compost promotes healthier growth and more vibrant flowering.

Soil Preparation

Prepare the planting area by loosening the soil and incorporating organic matter like compost. This improves soil structure and fertility, providing an ideal environment for the plants to establish.

Planting Depth and Spacing

Plant vinca at the same depth they were growing in their nursery pots. Space the plants 12-18 inches apart to accommodate their spreading habit and ensure good air circulation, which helps prevent disease.

Initial Watering and Mulching

Water the plants thoroughly after planting to settle the soil and establish the roots. Apply a layer of mulch around the plants to conserve moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature.

Care and Maintenance


During the first growing season, vinca flowers need regular watering to establish a strong root system. Once established, they become drought-tolerant and require less frequent watering.

Water deeply but infrequently, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. This encourages deep root growth and enhances the plants’ drought resilience.


Use a balanced, slow-release fertilizer to provide consistent nutrients throughout the growing season.

Apply fertilizer in early spring as new growth begins and again in mid-summer to support continuous flowering and growth.

Pruning and Deadheading

Prune vinca plants to control their spread and maintain a neat appearance. Remove damaged or diseased stems to keep the plants healthy. Pruning can be done in early spring before new growth starts.

While not essential, deadheading spent flowers can encourage more blooms and prevent the plants from becoming leggy.

Pest and Disease Management

Vinca can be affected by pests such as aphids, and spider mites, and diseases like root rot if grown in poorly drained soil.

Ensure proper spacing to allow for good air circulation and avoid overhead watering to reduce the risk of fungal diseases.

Inspect plants regularly and treat any infestations promptly with appropriate measures, such as insecticidal soap for pests or fungicides for diseases.

Propagation Methods

Seed Propagation

Collect seeds from mature plants in late summer or early fall. Clean and dry the seeds before storing them in a cool, dry place until ready to sow.

Sow seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before the last frost date. Transplant seedlings outdoors after the danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed.

Stem Cuttings

Take stem cuttings in late spring to early summer when the plants are actively growing.

Take 4-6 inch cuttings from healthy, non-flowering stems. Remove the lower leaves and dip the cut end in the rooting hormone.

Plant the cuttings in a well-draining potting mix and keep them moist until roots develop.


Divide vinca plants in early spring or fall when the plants are not actively blooming.

Dig up the plant and carefully separate the root clumps. Replant the divisions immediately, keeping them well-watered until they re-establish.

If you love growing perennial flowers check out this post on the 40 best perennial flowers to grow.

Seasonal Care Tips

Winter Care

In colder zones, apply a thick layer of mulch around the base of the plants to protect the roots from freezing temperatures.

In extremely cold areas, consider covering the plants with burlap or bringing potted plants indoors.

For potted vinca, bring the plants indoors before the first frost. Place them in a bright, cool location and reduce watering during the winter months to prevent root rot.

Summer Care

Vinca can tolerate heat, and maintain soil moisture by watering during dry spells and providing afternoon shade in extremely hot climates to prevent wilting and stress.

Regular deadheading can encourage continuous bloom throughout the summer, keeping the plants looking fresh and vibrant.

Landscaping Ideas

Ground Cover Solutions

Vinca is ideal for erosion control on slopes due to its spreading habit and dense root system, which helps stabilize the soil.

Use vinca to cover ground in shady areas under trees and shrubs where other plants might struggle to grow, creating a lush, green carpet.

Companion Planting

Vinca pairs well with hostas, ferns, and spring bulbs, providing a lush green backdrop that highlights the companion plants.

It also complements other shade-loving perennials, adding depth and texture to garden beds.

Design Tips

Create visual interest by combining vinca with plants of contrasting colors and textures. Use variegated varieties to add brightness to shaded areas, and plant vinca alongside taller plants to create layered landscapes.

Troubleshooting Common Problems

Yellowing Leaves

Yellowing leaves can be caused by overwatering, poor drainage, nutrient deficiencies, and pest infestations.

Adjust watering practices to allow the soil to dry out between waterings. Improve soil drainage by adding organic matter or sand.

Apply a balanced fertilizer to address nutrient deficiencies. Inspect plants for pests and treat them accordingly.

Poor Flowering

Insufficient sunlight and over-fertilization can result in poor flowering. Vinca requires adequate sunlight, especially in the morning, to produce abundant blooms.

Ensure the plants receive adequate sunlight, particularly in the morning. Pruning can also help by encouraging new growth and blooms.

Reduce the frequency of fertilizer applications to avoid excessive nitrogen, which can promote foliage growth at the expense of flowers.

Invasive Behavior

Vinca’s vigorous growth habit can cause it to spread beyond desired areas, becoming invasive in some regions.

Control the spread by regular pruning and installing physical barriers if necessary. Monitor the plants and remove any unwanted growth promptly.

In areas where vinca is considered invasive, choose alternative ground covers that are less aggressive.

Final Thoughts

Vinca flowers are highly favored in landscaping due to their versatility and minimal maintenance requirements.

If you decide to grow vincas you will enjoy their evergreen foliage and the long blooming period, they provide.

I hope this post on the Vinca or Periwinkle flower growing guide was helpful. If you love flower gardening subscribe to our mailing list and also follow me on @flowerthings Pinterest for more awesome flower posts.

Vinca or Periwinkle Growing Guide



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