The humble periwinkle flowers are often found creeping along hills and banks, providing green coverage and erosion control in areas that may need it most. It’s often referred to as creeping myrtle or creeping vinca.
This ground-covering plant got its name from the beautiful flowers that decorate the foliage. It’s most often a blue flower, although there are many varieties of this plant in existence that come in a wide range of colours.
What is a Periwinkle?
The common periwinkle or vinca minor is an evergreen plant. The foliage is dark green, while the flowers can differ in colour, and are blue, purple, or white depending on the variety. The oblong, glossy green leaves grow to around five centimetres in length.
Periwinkles often bloom from spring to autumn depending on the climate, and they grow to be approximately 15 centimetres in length. They’re able to spread using rooting shoots that are long and trailing.
How to Grow Periwinkles
While the periwinkle blooms best when in the sun, they can grow happily in shady spots too. When it comes to choosing where to plant periwinkle, look for an area with no other plants, as they tend to crowd out any other flowers. If you would like to plant the periwinkle amongst other flowers, try planting them with bulbous plants like tulips.
You can grow the periwinkle plant using seeds, although this takes quite a bit of time and patience. The easiest and quickest way to grow periwinkle is to use cuttings, nursery transplants or seedlings. You don’t need to buy a lot of them, as they tend to spread fairly quickly.
Prepare the soil before planting by adding compost and fertiliser to it as well as peat moss. This will add nutrients and ensure proper soil drainage.
When planting periwinkle flowers, ensure that there is enough space for them to grow 60 centimetres wide and 15 centimetres in length. A recommended spacing of 45 centimetres is required when planting.
Ensure that the soil is properly watered and ensure that it stays moist for the first 10 weeks of the growing process until the roots are established.
When to Plant Periwinkle
You should plant periwinkle in spring or early autumn. While they are evergreen, they need protection from the wind and cold. The tiny little periwinkle flowers will bloom in spring or summer.
Where to Plant Periwinkle
The periwinkle thrives in the sun but can survive in the shade. The soil needs to be prepared to ensure nutrition and optimal drainage, and must be kept moist throughout the growing process. Periwinkle easily spreads and grows, so ensure the area you plant it in has the space to facilitate this growth.
How to Plant Periwinkle
Due to the size of a fully grown periwinkle, you need to ensure there’s enough space for the plant to grow to 60 centimetres wide and 15 centimetres in length. Many garden enthusiasts recommend a spacing of 45 centimetres between plants.
How To Care For Periwinkle Flowers
Ensure that the periwinkle plants are properly spaced out in nutrient-rich soil. Adding fertiliser, compost, and mulch provides more nutrients. To contain the spread of periwinkle, dig out and throw away any plants growing out of bounds. Once they’ve established themselves, it can be difficult to eradicate them, so be sure to keep an eye on growth.
While this plant is hardy and easy to care for, it can suffer from root rot or canker in humid conditions. You can avoid this by ensuring your soil has proper drainage.
In the event that some of the plants become infected, remove them, and discard immediately.
Another common ailment is blight, identifiable by spotty, dying leaves and flowers. This fungal disease often occurs in cooler conditions and treatment requires a fungicide.
How quickly does periwinkle spread?
It takes approximately a year for periwinkles planted at a spacing of 15 centimetres to completely cover an area.
Is the periwinkle flower annual or perennial?
The periwinkle is a perennial flower that often blooms in the spring or summer time.
What colours do periwinkle flowers come in?
The periwinkle flower comes in a wide range of colours that can include purple, white, pink, red, magenta, and even bi-colours.
Is periwinkle poisonous to humans?
Yes, while the flower is pretty it is toxic to humans. Symptoms of poisoning can include vomiting, nausea as well as liver, kidney, and nerve damage. In high dosages, it can cause low blood pressure.
Is periwinkle a good ground cover?
Yes, the quick-spreading nature of the plant makes it ideal as a groundcover.
Will periwinkle kill other plants?
While it has been known to grow aggressively and take over garden space, you can plant it amongst other flowers. Be warned however that the roots can suffocate other plants when not properly controlled.
Can you eat periwinkle?
No, it is highly toxic to humans.
It’s Time To Get Rid Of The Open Spaces In Your Garden!
Periwinkle flowers are a great groundcover that is self-sufficient and easy to grow. The plant only really requires your attention during the initial growing stages to ensure the soil is moist and packed with nutrients.
Once established, periwinkles will spread out and continue to grow – unassisted. As much as this can be helpful, it can easily become a pest if not properly monitored and cared for. Before planting periwinkle, determine which area needs to be covered and plant accordingly. Once you have reached your goal, it’s a simple matter of maintaining the space and its growth.