Thursday, November 5, 2009

Periwinkle and Vinca

By Skeeter

On Tuesday, I talked about my Volunteer Periwinkle. I made the mistake of calling it Vinca Minor. If you go to this Web Site, you will see why I called it Vinca Minor. This site's Classification reads,

Genus: Vinca L - Periwinkle
Species: Vinca Minor - Common Periwinkle.

This site also says this is a vine plant. I do have the vine plant of Vinca in my Georgia Gardens as you can see in the above and below pictures. Now, if you go to this Web Site, you will see that Vinca Major seems to be the same plant as Vinca Minor! The classification reads,

Genus: Vinca L-Periwinkle
Species: Vinca Major-Bigleaf Periwinkle.

And notice this is the same source Web Site! Are you as confused as I now? I have since removed the word Minor in Tuesdays posting.

The Blogger "How It Grows" was the first one to step in with assistance on this issue. Second came "Mothernaturesgarden" with only writing the words, Catharanthus Roseus. I finally found time to search Catharanthus Roseus and this site reads,

Genus: Catharanthus
Species: C. Roseus
Synonyms: Vinca Rosea
English names: Cape Periwinkle, Rose Periwinkle, Rosy Periwinkle and Old Maid.

Okay are we straight now? Ha, I am now more confused then ever but as with all plants, I know there are more then one called the same thing. The tag on the plant that I purchased says, Periwinkle/Vinca for the continuous flowers plants. There was no tag for the Ground cover plant I have as it was taken from my parents house and they told me it was called Vinca. So to keep things straight in the future, I will call my Catharanthus Roseus, Periwinkle.

In the above pictures you see the Vinca which is a ground cover creeping all over the place in my shade garden. I have planned a posting for it for months but it keeps getting pushed back for other topics. I had planned to get a topic on it today but since the confusion and my research, I decided to once again push that topic aside for now. I will get it up soon though...Here is how my Periwinkle got started as Volunteers in my gardens. I had thought this planter had been talked about at In the Garden but when looking back to link it, I did not find one. Ha, I sometimes wonder how I manage to keep a household running smoothly when things such as this happen. This area in the corner of my yard was bare and a pain to keep mowed so a planter came to mind. Free Bricks from a construction sight work well as planters. This picture was snapped after planting my first Periwinkle in April 2005. I count 15 plants which was way more then this planter needed but it was my first planting and I learned my lesson. Two months later, they were filling in for me. I don't have another picture of them that first year but they outgrew the planter!
Here is a close up of the Pink and White blooms.
The following year, I planted Red Periwinkle in the planter. The white and pink you see are from self seeding.
The color Purple was added on another year.
And here is another planter full of Volunteer colors as Red was the color planted that year. This planter was cleared of Periwinkle for new Castle Rock sides and to become my Pepper Planter this year. We had some yummy peppers but I missed the flower blooms. However, I had plenty of blooms from the seeds that jumped outside this planter.
Here are the results of some of those jumping seeds from planters onto the ground. OJ kitty enjoys them with me.Back to the Triangle Planter, you see this years growth. Only the dark pink Periwinkle were planted by me. The remainder of the seedlings you see are Volunteers from self seeding from years past plants! I keep telling myself I am not going to plant any new slips but they are so slow to pop up for me and I want color sooner then the seeds please me. Maybe next year I will not plant any new slips and just be a patient gardener.
Look at how thick they were. I had to take out many seedlings and toss them into the compost pile as I had no more energy left to transplant them in the Georgia heat! They may be slow to get from seeds to seedlings but once that heat gets to them, they grow really fast.

Look at the shapes of the blooms in these two pictures. the one on the left looks a bit pointed at the ends while the one one the right looks more fan shaped. Different flowers but are they the same flowers? Hum, did you understand the question? Same Species or not? Here is a closer peek at what I am talking about. The smaller pale pink looks pointed as does the bloom below it while the white bloom on the top and very bottom look fan shaped. And I never planted a Pale Pink Periwinkle. I think the dark and lighter pinks cross breed so I made my own pale pink flowers with the help of bees and butterflies!
Looking at the wider picture, maybe my eyes see the new blooms standing tall and pointed while the older blooms are starting to curl, thus loosing their points. Hum...
Here you see Bright Pink, Light Pink, White and Purple blooms happily together. Only one color was planted here, hum, which one? I am guessing the Bright Pink as those blooms are larger then the others. Wrong! These are all self seeders!
Here is a pretty good example of the glossy green foliage of the Periwinkle.
And here is a picture I snapped yesterday of the planter! Way over loaded with plants after having many plucked, transplanted and tossed.
Look at the color remaining in my corner planters on November 4. I have a mirror image of this planter on the opposite side of the house front. I am not looking forward to our first frost as they will all go bye bye then. They should still be with us a bit longer as the little pods have yet to pop open and scatter seeds for me. On a happy note, I know they will return again next year!

I enjoy my PERIWINKLE AND VINCA, In the Garden...

Note: Thanks to "How it Grows" and "Mothernaturesgarden" for the information and getting my brain to dig deeper...


  1. Keeter girl .. I am confused too .. but a huge WOW ! on how beautiful it looks when it spreads out no matter what colour it turns .. and that bricking is perfect even though it is lost for the abundance of flowers : )
    I had a blue periwinkle at one point but it seems to have disappeared on me .. maybe it will pop up some where else in the garden again ? ;-)

  2. Skeeter, periwinkle or vinca, I can not grow either. Like I say, lucky you!

  3. I have read the difference between vinca major and vinca minor is the invasivness. (sp) One is a little slower growing than the other one. Get this, mine have never bloomed...and the Vinca Periwinkile is beautiful, do be a patient gardener and watch what happens...I do belive the colors bleed into one another if planted in the same planter. Just more interest to me.

  4. Your Catharanthus is lovely, your Vinca is a weed - which happens to have lovely flowers and foliage. I have waged an unsuccessful battle for over a decade to rid my yard of variegated Vinca major.

  5. Skeeter, I have both V major and V minor in my yard...both are horridly invasive(on the invasives list) and both are considered ground covers. It has been an impossible mission to get rid of them. Vinca major produces a runner that can be 10 to 12 feet long that roots where ever it touches the ground; V minor's are shorter. Be careful if you plant either...they have plans to take over the world!

    I like the sweet annuals and wouldn't mind them reseeding.


  6. I have neither of these, but I do like the blooms. The planter angle is nice because it certainly is easy to follow with a mower... and free bricks rule! :)

  7. By whatever name, I love them both and grow them. The deer don't bother them so that's a major plus for me! Love your brick planter, Skeeter! And OJ kitty ;)

  8. Common names can sometimes get one in trouble. When someone first told me of vinca I though the vine, but they they explained how it reseeded and they loved it. I knew it was not the vine. I made the mistake of planting vinca a few years ago. Urgh! I knew enough to not plant ivy and bamboo but missed the vinca thing. Go figure. I still fight it each year but have pretty much eliminated it. While it is okay in some situations (the minor) in most it will surely take over the world. Not for me! Thanks for explaining the differences. But I have to agree with the others the vine is a weed-never plant it. My professor was a bit put out I told her I hated vinca. But she hates nandinas so it was only fair right?:)

  9. Hi Skeeter, your planter bed is a nice accent to the corner of your front yard. I like periwinkles, super performers all through the season. Like impatiens, their colors will change as they are cross pollinated. The Vinca major and minor are not ones I would want in my garden (as some of the commentors have already said) My mom planted Vinca major variegated and I am always trying to convince her to get rid of it.

  10. Hi Skeeter, your planter bed is a nice accent to the corner of your front yard. I like periwinkles, super performers all through the season. Like impatiens, their colors will change as they are cross pollinated. The Vinca major and minor are not ones I would want in my garden (as some of the commentors have already said) My mom planted Vinca major variegated and I am always trying to convince her to get rid of it.

  11. Oh, I love periwinkles, my Daddy's favorite flower. I hate that vinca minor, a @#%@!vine/@#%@! groundcover/@#%@!pest/@#%@!weed! Vinca minor ranks right up there with Asiatic jasmine for being the worst thing to ever plant in your yard!

    Regardless of the name, regular periwinkles are great plants for us. They are tough, standing up to our very hot summer sun, and never flinching! We rely on them!

    Fantastic post!

  12. Good information on the difference. Names can get confusing.


  13. Joy, I did not know they came in blue color! I will be on the lookout for them as they should be added to the mix I have going strong now. Hum, wonder why that one never returned for you….?....

    Dawn, sorry you cannot grow it as it is a beautiful flower that blooms and blooms and blooms…

    Darla, You look so relaxed in your picture! :-) Ah, the invasiveness may be the meaning behind those names. My Periwinkle starts out slow but grows really quickly once the temps warm up. My Vinca grows quickly and does not completely die out here in Georgia. As the Monkey grass they both keep some green during the mild winters here…

    Les, I know in time I will probably regret planting the Vinca Major as I have heard many people complain about how unruly it can be in their gardens. I have a lot of room for it to grow and until then, I will enjoy it. It is creeping its way towards the Patio though but I will keep my eye on it and take charge when need be…

    Gail, I was just telling Les how I have plenty of room for the Vinca Major to crawl. I have it planted away from the house and in the shady woods are of the yard. It has plenty of space to roam but is getting near the patio and in the Monkey Grass Planter at times. I have my eye on it and will clip when need be. I am finding the Trumpet Vine more of an issue to deal with then the Vinca for now. But I know I must be on my toes as I have heard too many scary tales of Vinca…

    Monica, Yes, Free is my Friend! I should make that into a bumper sticker hee hee… It is so easy to maintain that planter with a simple swipe of the riding mower. I never have to get off to trim or anything! But I do have to pluck seedlings popping up through the bricks as I cannot seem to get the cracks filled with sand as it keeps draining out on me….

    Lynn, I am lucky that the deer do not eat them. I had no idea of they were deer resistant or not and good thing they are as I have lots in the yard for them if they did like it! We are thinking of taking some slips of the vine-Vinca and planting it near our creek where the leaves never stay put. The deer go that route and ate the Ivy we planted there. ARgggggg…

  14. Tina, you are too funny with your professor but yes, fair is fair! lol.. All the botanical names are so confusing for me that I try to keep with just the simple common name but as you can see, even the common names can be confusing at times as well. My head was spinning in circles with each click of the keypad while doing research on this matter. I kept getting conflicting info and finally just decided it is going to stay a confusing matter for me. I will just simply call the Vinca vinca and the Periwinkle periwinkle! My brain does not have the power to go further on this one… I will get that post up soon on the Vinca so all can see how invasive it can be if left alone….

    Janet, I had impatiens one year but they required way more water then I had stamina to keep watered in the summer heat. They were beautiful and bloomed forever but the watering was killing me so no more for me as they all went bye bye with the shovel at the end of the season. That is when my mom suggested Periwinkle but in the sun and not shade as the Impatient were. I was happy to see the little pink blooms this year and hope they return next year and add more interest to this planter. No pale pinks in any of the other planters for now though. My Vinca is the Variegated and so far not a problem for me as it has plenty of room to reach out but I know in the future it may become an issue so I am keeping my eyes on...

    Janie, Thanks and yes the Vinca can be so invasive if planted in the wrong place! I have not heard of Asiatic Jasmine before so I checked it out. I have the Confederate Jasmine and love that stuff but it climbs up the trees and stays at bay while it looks as though this Asiatic jasmine goes crazy on the ground. Thanks for mentioning it as that is my new thing learned for the day! Yep, gotta love that heat loving Periwinkle when living in the Deep South! If only I had known about them the 5 years we lived in Texas…

    Cameron, I am so easily confused with plant names and the research confused me more! What a gardener to do? I say, stick with the simple names. Hee hee…

  15. Okay, the confusion has overwhelmed my tiny brain. But I think I know where you are coming from. I loved the pink/fuschia colors the best. I like your brick 'planter', gotta love free stuff. I have some old bricks that I scavenged as well.

  16. Holy toledo what a sea of beauty with such full planters!! If you find some of the blue it sure will be down right spectacular.

  17. I know that many people get turned off by botanical names - they are hard to spell and even harder to pronounce. As a horticulturist, I use them all the time, and they do help to clear up confusion due to common names.

    But, that being said, whatever they are called (Vinca / Periwinkle) yours are beautiful!

  18. I get confused by some of these names too. I've seen plants on other blogs with totally different names from what I call them. Since I started blogging I've tried to use both the common and botanical names of most plants.
    Your periwinkle definitely seems to like where it is! I don't think I've seen that type before here, but we do have vinca minor growing in parts of the garden.

  19. Skeeter, if you saw vinca minor and vinca major right next to each other, you'd be able to see the difference. V. minor is smaller in stature and leaf. V. major is more upright and just bigger. Both can be overly aggressive, especially in mild climates, but major is worse than minor. Personally I really like V. minor, as we have limited broad-leaved evergreen groundcovers in my area.
    And the vinca nickname for Catharanthus confused me for a while, too. But I can understand why we don't use Catharanthus commonly, what a mouthful!

  20. I have Vinca minor 'Sterling Silver' with a variegated leaf and I like it a lot. No invasiveness in my low-water garden, and it stays low to the ground. Vinca major? Not nowhere, not no how.

  21. Rosey, My tiny brain is still confused as well :) but as you, I do love the blooms! I kind of favor the purple but purple is a favorite color of mine so to be expected. I had a lot of those free bricks and have dug just about every one of them into the ground as a border of some type. Yep, I do love a bargain especially a free one!

    Jean, Oh yes, I will be looking for the blue next spring for sure! I just know I will not have the resistance in me to not buy any so if I find blue, they are mine baby!

    Azplantlady, The botanical names of plants are a foreign language to me. lol I did not do too well in Spanish nor German so I will just stick to the common names at my mid life age :) I do love the many blooms from them and will always have them in my garden. They last so long….

    Catherine, I should have known I would become confused on the names. While in Virginia in spring, I was strolling along the sidewalks in Fredericksburg and pointed out a flower to my Mother in law and she said it was Periwinkle and it was not the Periwinkle we see here in our area. So yes, there are different types as with most any flower. I do enjoy them in the garden and that is really all that matters to me…

    VW, Now there you go confusing my brain even more with your knowledge. LOL. I have the one which is a vine to the ground which you see in the first two pictures. I will show it better in its own post. I must get that post ready to go next week. And yes, Catharanthus is a mouthful but to me, most all botanical names are…

    Daffodil Planter, I have the Vinca major which is under control in my garden. I have lots of room for it to explode but will keep my eye on it as it is near the patio and could take over. I enjoy the purple blooms in the spring and the ground cover in the winter as it does not die down in our mild climate. I looked up the Sterling Silver and it is really pretty! Mine is Variegated and I do enjoy it, well, for now anyway…

  22. Thanks for the explanation, Skeeter...but I'm still a little confused,too. In the end, though, I don't think it matters what they're called. I've always liked vinca, and yours are lovely! I wish mine would re-seed themselves like yours do.

  23. Skeeter, I like the vinca -I suppose it's because it is so hearty in my backyard, hehehe. And, it really does spread quickly and just about anywhere it touches it roots down and digs it's little cuteness in, hahaha. At this point anything that made it thru the past summer without me helping it is a good thing:) I'll let you know what I think when I get back out to weed and cut back everything if I still feel the same way. I did give my mom a clipping and she had NO problems getting it to start for her -so it is very, very hearty in this area. A big hi to all you garden gals! My little bundle and crew have been keeping me super busy. But, I do enjoy reading and hopefully gaining some knowlegde from your postings. Ciao!

  24. I loved the sequence of photos showing how your garden looked from 2005 onwards. Great post and yes, I do agree that the whole plants' labels can get confusing. It's happened to me when buying a particular flower pot for my wife and then I arrive home with the wrong one.

    Greetings from London.

  25. I love how you used the recycled bricks in this area of your yard. And the Periwinkles really are a nice colorful addition as well. They are such long bloomers and fuss free plants. Anything that reseeds so happily but easily removed is always welcome don't you think? :)

  26. Rose, That pretty much sums it up for me too! :-) I wonder why yours do not self seed? Hum, do you clean out the planter in the Spring? That might be the reason as you are removing the seeds. Other then that, I don’t know the answer…

    Anonymous, Hello there stranger! How were the goblins for Halloween? Get some good loot and I am waiting to see this years costumes, hint hint email me pics… I do like my Vinca, for now anyway. It has plenty of room to wander and I think it will be fine where I planted it. I think the trick to Vinca is putting it in the right spot so it can do its thing in peace. But I may find out different in time. Keep that little bundle warm and happy…

    Cuban, Funny you talk about a wrong plant for your wife. My hubby always says he will bring back weeds if I send him to the garden center for a plant. lol The names are so confusing. I just read tags and see if the plant would work in my conditions then go from there and rarely learn the proper names. Oh well, I am more into the beauty then the science of the things in my yard and that pretty much works for me…

    Raquel, you are so right! Self seeders are the easy way out in life! Plus these are real easy to remove if you do not want them. I just wish they would pop up sooner then I could transplant more and toss less. They thrive once the heat of summer really gets to popping and it is too hot for me to replant the pulled ones. Wish I were more tolerant of the heat…

  27. Those blooms remind me of the phlox I had in a tub that reseeded into different colored blooms.

    There are a bunch of some kind of vinca newly planted at the school I work at. They have light blue flowers on them. I hope they get as full of blooms next year as yours are.

  28. I have planted vinca in my front yard as I wanted low maintenance/drought tolerant coverage. However, I do not want it to grow into my liriope edging along my sidewalks. Does a brick border really contain it or what would be an effective barrier? I really appreciate your help as I am thinking I will try and tear all of it out so it doesn't spread into my liriope. thanks!

    1. Debidoux, this is Tina. I will forward this message to Skeeter too as she is the one who posted this article. Are you referring to the vine/groundcover periwinkle vinca? I am thinking you are so will respond. In gardens I have seen it growing it is not contained by anything. It can climb trees, houses, sidewalks, you name it. I never recommend it for planting anywhere because it will seed and go where you don't want it to. I pull seedlings from my garden all the time. If you are talking the flowering common periwinkle you can easily pull those seedlings. Vinca is not so easy to pull and the vines run rampant and without a lot of maintenance it will take over. Hope this helps. Again, I'll forward your message to Skeeter as she may have more input than me. Good luck.

    2. As Tina says, it will grow like Gangbusters! It gets so tall then falls over and roots where ever it falls to the ground! It will grow shoots under, over and around planters also. I have a raised bed of Liriope in the midst of the Vinca. I have found some shoots in the planter but not so many. Although, I do stay on top of this issue and am diligent about pulling the shoots. The past two years, the Vinca has died back on me towards the end of summer. I have no idea why this has happened but it has. But not to fret as it seems to pop back to life the following spring. I have my Vinca growing in an area for it to take off so it must have plenty of room to roam as it does roam. I would not suggest it as a ground cover near your brick boarder as it WILL JUMP the border.... Give it plenty of room to roam with no boarders....

  29. Can I ask where I can find Madagascar Periwinkle?

    1. I think Skeeter purchased annual periwinkle in a big box store in the spring so I quickly googled Madagascar periwinkle and came up with all sorts of sources for seeds. I think I'm going to buy some seeds myself and either direct sow them in the spring or winter sowing this fall. So just google it and get started with this 'periwinkle'!