Periwinkle...yes or no??

EyegirlieAugust 6, 2013

I have a wonderful lady in my neighborhood that has given me flowers out of her flowerbeds earlier this summer and now wants me to come by again and get more of whatever I would like. My flowerbed is only in its second year, but I feel like I've made a lot of progress.
I currently have a crepe myrtle tree (Catawba), pink double knockout roses, pink and purple verbena, various salvias, sedum autumn joy, columbine, yarrow, gladiolas, stella de oro daylilies, creeping phlox, tall phlox, and boxwood shrubs.
My question is would you add periwinkle to this bed? My neighbor's front flowerbed is full of beautiful pink and white periwinkle, but I'm afraid of it overtaking and smothering out my other plants. I know it will be one thing she will offer me, but I want to be careful about planting something I will later regret.
Thank you for any advice you may have!!

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Here's a picture, forgot the Becky daisy!

Oh, and my house faces south so my flowerbed gets full sun!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 2:24PM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

I would say no unless you don't mind it spreading everywhere and growing into other things. That is just my opinion even though the flowers are pretty. I doubt I will ever get rid of it in my back yard.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 3:01PM
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Thank you, cyn!

I'm planning on making a new flowered around a large oak - grass wont grow there. So I may just put some there!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 3:04PM
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Periwinkle is fine in a shady area with large plants. It will torture you separating it from the smaller plants you love. In sun, grass and weeds grow freely in it.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 3:29PM
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I agree with everyone that Vinca Minor should not go in that bed.I am not sure if that is what you mean when you say Periwinkle. As far as I know Vinca Minor does not have a pink variety.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 5:33PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I believe you mean the annual commonly known as periwinkle. It's botanical name is escaping me right now.
Anyway, initially, you must plant them the same way you plant pansies or begonias. If you leave them until first frost, they will most likely go to seed and next spring, you will find many babies popping up. Thankfully, they don't spread and the seeds don't spread much either. These are not invasive/crazy plants like morning glories that will haunt you for years.
The seedlings can be easily pulled or sprayed with roundup. I have an area where I LIKE having them and leave them each year to seed- to frost.

So, you could easily buy a 6 pack and each one will make an attractive 2' clump where you put it. But if it goes to seed, you might have to deal with babies in the spring.
I imagine your neighbor does let it reseed and must like the look.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 5:58PM
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Yes, periwinkle is a common name that applies to several plants. Based on the OP's zone and description of "pink and white flowers", I'd guess they meant the annual periwinkle, Catharanthus roseus (aka Madagascar periwinkle or annual vinca).

Not invasive at all (annuals typically are never considered invasive) and not even very thuggish around garden companions. I doubt this would smother out other plants.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 6:25PM
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Thanks for the information! I didn't realize there were differences, she just called it periwinkle and since she has lots of it, I assumed it was all the same and spread!
Looking at pictures, her "periwinkle" is definitely catharanthus roseus/Madagascar periwinkle/annual vinca! That makes me feel much better about accepting/planting some of those in my flowerbed!!
Thank you all again for helping clear that up for me!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 8:31PM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

Oops, I was thinking vinca minor or major (which is even worse)-completely skipped over the pink and white part. Sorry!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 8:41PM
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Eyegirlie I forgot to praise you for the bed you made It actually looks like there is no room left for other plants. Now that I know which periwinkle you mean I say get it by all means. I would love to have a neighbor like that.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 12:50AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

the next iteration of your education into the gardening world.. is to lose the common names.. and learn the latin.

i fought it for years ... but as noted above.. periwinkle is a COMMON NAME.. for two entirely different plants... one possible.. the other not really ...

frankly ... that bed.. has the potential.. to already be .... overplanted...

if you have other beds to build.. go for it.. leave this one alone for a year or two.. and learn how a bed fills itself in ... when you finish filling all new beds.. then you roll back to this one ... and start messing with it ...

i wish you could turn your pic.. it has something to do with how you hold your phone ..

anyway.. deeper into the pic.. if i crook my neck.. you have what looks like some shrubs.. way too close to the house.. never forget.. foundation plantings are planted to HIDE the foundation.. NOT LITERALLY ON IT ... and you should always leave a few feet empty of the plants potential for house maintenance. ...

otherwise.. great job for a newb ... you did good ... now dont mess it up .. lol


    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 8:24AM
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Ken I learned that if you click the sideways image it will open going the correct way.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 2:45PM
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a2zmom(6a - nj)

emmarene, that trick does not work for me. The picture remains sideways.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 8:46PM
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Emma and Ken, thanks for the advice, I'm beginning to notice I probably have enough plants in there for now, ha! It's just so hard to turn down plants ;-)

I do need to create some more beds, just finding the time and money to make new ones is my problem!

Ken, the shrubs were planted when our house was built by the people that made the flower beds and laid the sod. The ones "deeper" in the picture are spaced the same from the house as the ones you can see in the front of the picture. Do you think those are ok then?

And sorry about the sideways picture, it showed up the correct way when I was at home but now that I'm on my work computer, it is sideways for me as well, ugh!

    Bookmark   August 8, 2013 at 3:44PM
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Will a lawn mower keep Periwinkle at bay if it were planted around the base of a tree?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 10:26AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

which periwinkle.. pmb????

and what do you mean... 'at bay'???

are you planting it in the lawn ????? ... and if you are not.. why mow it???? .. to my eye.. there is nothing worse than grass in a plant... it looks weedy ....

you might be better served.. starting your own post...


    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 10:36AM
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Hi eyegirlie,

I personally love periwinkle, both the perennial and annual type. The pink variety is most likely the annual variety (Madagascar Periwinkle) and has been allowed to reseed, so it acts like a perennial. If you deadhead the blossoms before they go to seed, you will not be faced with that.

That being said, I have never had an issue with the Perennial periwinkle (vinca minor) being invasive. It is a great option for a shady garden and it sounds like the spot under your tree may be the best option for you.

Enjoy your gardens! You've got a very nice yard! It's that time of year...yay!

Here is a link that might be useful: Info on Perennial Periwinkle

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 10:55AM
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sweet_betsy No AL Z7

A right click on the picture and a left click on "view image" turned the picture for me.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 12:17PM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

The plant shown at grandmamaloy's link is Vinca major which is larger leaved, stragglier, taller and imo is not as neat a ground cover as Vinca minor.

This post was edited by floral_uk on Mon, Mar 17, 14 at 13:50

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 12:46PM
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I was asking, how do I keep Periwinkle in it's place? Not letting it grow out farther than I want it. If I plant it under a shade tree and it starts creeping into my lawn, will mowing over it prevent it from spread beyond the trees perimeter. That's what I meant by "at bay". Apparently the specimen I have is Vinca minor, but it is hard to tell by looking through pictures on Google. I grabbed a small clipping of this vine, while on a walk. Trying to decide whether I should plant it or not. Sorry if I impeded on your discussion. I will go elsewhere for advice. Thank you.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 1:02PM
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"Will mowing over it prevent it from spreading beyond the tree's perimeter?"

Not in my experience. My bed is bordered in brick with a plastic edging on the grass side and it is a constant battle to keep the Vinca out of the lawn. I started removing it last year and will finish getting rid of it this year. There are more manageable ground covers.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 1:48PM
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Vinca minor/perennial periwinkle is an evergreen groundcover that grows at a modest pace but it will grow into lawn. My ND neighbor who mows my lawn each summer merely cuts back whatever grows into the lawn whenever he mows the grass.

My parents moved our family to this house in 1960 & began planting a vegetable garden and flower beds. They planted vinca minor in full sun on a dangerously steep slope behind the garage as well as several other parts of the property.

In 2010 I had a brick walkway built at the top of the steep slope behind the garage, set a recycled split rail fence along the edge & planted winter sown perennials either side of the walkway.

Prior to 2010 none of the above existed--there were only weeds, crabgrass & an ancient in-ground iron garbage pail.

I like the periwinkle because it minimizes weeds on the steep slope and is more or less easily kept contained. It also is heavily visited by the bees when it blooms.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 6:56PM
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Update: I did end up making a large flower bed around a tree in the front and planted lots of the "periwinkle" AKA catharanthus roseus/Madagascar periwinkle/annual vinca thanks to my very generous neighbor. She also gave me lots of sees she swept from her sidewalks to "sprinkle" to get more!

Seeing my flower bed makes me long for warmer weather!!! I did notice some green starting to emerge!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 10:40PM
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Vinca Minor is just great where you don't plan to grow anything else. It is pretty and smothers out everything in its path. It will travel into your lawn also unless you put in barriers.

It is everygreen and loves both shade and sun. It has a place for sure. Just not every place!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 4:09PM
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