vinca minor ground cover comments

v1rtApril 26, 2009

It's me again. :)

Someone on craigslist is selling this perennial ground cover. She's just like 10 miles from my place. I would like to know if this plant is a NO-NO for designers/gardeners. :)

Thanks.

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coolplantsguy(z6 Ontario)

Why would it be a "no-no for designers/gardeners"?

It's a great groundcover -- a variety by the name of 'La Grave' is my favourite.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 1:17PM
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Fledgeling_(4b SD)

It's a no-no because it will engulf almost anything else and smother it. So if you plant it in the garden, it will smother everything else and be almost impossible to remove... it fits the term invasive better than most plants with that label. It should be avoided if you intend to grow anything else nearby. Or just avoided. A pretty weed, but there are so many horror stories about it.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 1:42PM
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coolplantsguy(z6 Ontario)

I would suggest it still has "its place" in some gardens.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 1:54PM
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duluthinbloomz4

It does have its place is some gardens - probably a large area with some dry shade. I wouldn't put it in an uncontained/non-deep edged three foot necklace of a foundation planting bed, or in a perimeter garden where it could find its way over to neighbors choking out your plants and possibly theirs in its travels.

There are so many alternatives - vlrtu appears to be a new gardener with an enviable boundless enthusiasm and the desire to have an immediate, lush, settled in landscape in only one full growing season. Our personal landscapes are something many of us have worked on for YEARS without seeing anywhere near a finished product.

The joy is in the journey for most of us who garden.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 2:27PM
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Fledgeling_(4b SD)

I suppose it does have a place in some situations, but often it is placed in places where it could cause problems. Where those probems don't exist, it can be attractive, I will admit. I am partial to the white flowered variety because white is more visible in areas where this plant does it's thing best.

The more you know, right? Anyways I hope I never am able to call any garden a "finished product." Are we truly ever 'done'?

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 2:41PM
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v1rt

Thank you so much for the heads up about the being invasive nature of vinca minor. I wouldn't get it then.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 5:44PM
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coolplantsguy(z6 Ontario)

FYI, I had a very pleasant patch under some Witch Hazel bushes for years without any problems. In addition, a variety like 'La Grave' is more of a "clumper" than others or the species.

In any case, the term "groundcover" can be somewhat ambiguous.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 7:26PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I have several patches of la grave (which is also Bowles) and like it very much. It's easy to keep contained and it makes a tight weave groundcover. I have some around some hydrangeas and it's nice.
In another area I have it at the base of an arborvitae and have phlox planted in it.
I find it less aggressive then Georgia Blue veronica and that's usually beloved by gardeners.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 9:51PM
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terrene(5b MA)

I have much experience with this plant, as it covered about .25 acre of a 1.25 acre lot when I moved here 6 years ago. I have removed about half of it, including the Vinca previously growing in most of the garden beds.

It has its place, but it's not in a garden or even shrub border. The species is very vigorous and will choke out all but established trees/shrubs. Even then, shrubs will not thrive, as the Vinca will compete aggressively for water and nutrients. It is growing very happily in the dry shade under large Norway and Silver maples. But perennials hardly have a chance. The Solidago canadensis does manage to compete, but this is a very aggressive perennial.

I think it would be appropriate growing by itself in a contained but difficult to grow area. And it makes a great "dog area". One of my tenants had 2 dogs, and I told her to keep the dogs out of the gardens but they could "have at it" anywhere in the Vinca. They loved to run through it, roll in it, pee and poop in it. The Vinca didn't miss a beat.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 8:31AM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

There have been several similar discussions on GW about Vinca over the years. There doesn't seem to be any pattern as to where it is invasive. I mean, it isn't just the colder or hotter zones that people say it is invasive.

I think this must be one of those plants where placement is key. I myself have had this groundcover in my yard for years and would never consider it invasive. But that is just here. I love the fact that it is evergreen, and would hate to ever be without it.

-Virtuosity, you will never know until you try it. It might not be invasive in your area. You could always just plant a little pot of it in an open area and see what it does. If you find the growth rate alarming much then you can dig it out.
CMK

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 12:31PM
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WendyB(5A/MA)

I have some around a crabapple and it barely moves. the circle of vinca is probably 4-5'. Every few years as the crab grows, I cut a few inches of lawn around the circle to let the vinca fill in. I've had the combo at least 10 years.

Maybe it depends on what it is growing next to. For example, I know poison ivy will stop short once it encounters grass. Maybe vinca does something similar. at least my variety seems like that.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 9:03PM
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pam_whitbyon(6 Niagara)

When I lived in 5b it was hardly invasive at all. Last year I moved to 6b and spent a large part of last summer ripping it out. Underneath it all, i found struggling astilbe, cranesbill, salvia and primroses. I have about 10 hours more work to do on it. The blue flowers look gorgeous right now but I don't care. And after that's gone I have wild violets and mint to tackle...

    Bookmark   May 3, 2009 at 10:58PM
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donna-r

i bought several of these on sale at a local greenhouse, but it is late in the summer, mid august, can i plant it this late in the growing season?

    Bookmark   August 15, 2009 at 9:53PM
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geoforce(z7a SE PA)

The greatest fault i find with it is its aggressively invasive but not dense enough to smother out included weeds. I hated to have to weed the stuff constantly to keep it weed-free when it was supposed to be a groundcover. I finally decided to weed it all out but that is a losing proposition also as the dratted stuff is nearly indestructible.

George

    Bookmark   August 15, 2009 at 11:22PM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

I have seen acres and acres of it in woods far from any habitation in upstate NY.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2009 at 5:55AM
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grandmachris

When we bought our "farm home" in 1977 there was a steepish
area in the yard about 8 feet by 40 feet, covered with grass with peonies along the upper 40 foot edge. As soon as I could I replaced the grass with vinca. I have really
appreciated NOT seeing my "mowers"--first husband and now
son helping out his parents, slide down the hill on the rider mower!!

The changes in grade are one of the most unusual things on our former farm in Indiana and groundcovers are very helpful. I agree with George that the weeding is a problem. It's lots cheaper than a 40foot 6-8 foot tall
retaining wall, and a lot safer for mowers.

Chris

    Bookmark   August 16, 2009 at 4:47PM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

Groundcovers serve an important purpose on slopes, but there are a great many groundcovers out there besides Vinca minor

    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 5:55AM
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woodside(6 IN)

How about sweet woodruff?

    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 12:28PM
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ditas

In defence of much maligned Periwinkle (Vinca Minor) ...

As flegeling posted: "it does have a place in some situations, but often it is placed in places where it could cause problems. Where those probems don't exist, it can be attractive"

& c..p..g..: posted as well: "I had a very pleasant patch under some Witch Hazel bushes for years without any problems."

25 yrs ago I planted mine under a Locust tree ... like wendyb had done, I allowed a few inches around, over the years as the tree grew ... tree became a problem due to tornado threats - limbs over roof ... was cut down! whew!!!

I was afraid Periwinkle had gone too, after the stump/roots were grounded down ... they fortunately left a few small clumps that I nursed back to health. in 2 yrs, became a good mat ... very well behaved, even with just a 'pretend' barricade of rocks (w/o plastic edger) ... Periwinkle didn't know any better & stayed in place. Certainly a haircut, now & then (butched or pixie fringes as the mood pleases!)

The site is now an L-shaped, garden bed w/ KO roses, yellow-mini-rose, Sentimental Blue-Platycodons, Li'l Spire, Lavenders, as well as, a large H Tardiva, an old Nikko H & a bird bath ... Periwinkle provides a nice sumptuous, dark-green mat & her Periwinkle-blue florets, welcome Spring along with the roses! No pretties have been choked to death yet. The tulips of 20 yrs ago, didn't complain either. Did I plant a timid type of Vinca M?

I've recently created a corner-p/s-bed to move old Nikko to, this Fall ... pulled some rooted sprigs of old Periwinkle to (sooner than) eventually make a mat for old Nik.

Arc Angel-Lamium, I think, is a worse invader & Snows on the Mt, as well ... in Jul/Aug, even looks like kids' football shirt after a muddy-scrimmage! Oh, you should see my retaining wall & bed of Baltic Ivy!!! :-(

I love my Periwinkle & hope my neighbor won't use my name in vane, should the new bed overflow, with her long limbs & crawl thru the fence! ... Fingers crossed!!!~

FWIW! - sorry long story! Â:(

    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 3:18PM
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mjmiller99

I have an area under pine trees that need a ground cover that won't climb the trees. Currently there's English Ivy that has started growing. I need to remove this as it climbs the trees and I'm looking for an alternative that will block the growth of the ivy.

Would Vinca Minor be a good alternative, if not what would you recommend? Comments pro and con are appreciated.

Thanks
Mike

    Bookmark   September 18, 2010 at 12:59PM
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hostaholic2 z 4, MN

I have had Bowles variety (or so I was told by the previous owner) for years (18) and it has never left it's assigned space. I have had never had to cut it back or do anything with it.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2010 at 11:26PM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

Mike, nothing will block the growth of the ivy. You'll have to get it out of there. But a great groundcover for dry shade are Epimediums (some are more drought tolerant than others).

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 6:03AM
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mjmiller99

Thanks everyone for the info, getting rid of the ivy is easier said than done, but I'm working on it.

Thanks

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 12:58PM
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mori1(5b/6a)

I grow variegated vinca which is so much easier to control. It dies back to the ground come winter so where a vine has rooted doesn't always take.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2010 at 3:00PM
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