Vinca minor
Common Name: common periwinkle 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Apocynaceae
Native Range: Europe to southern Russia
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Lavender blue
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Heavy Shade, Erosion, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil


Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Tolerates close to full shade. Prefers moist, humusy soils in part shade. Plant 8" apart for quick cover of smaller areas. Plant 12-18" apart to cover large areas.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Vinca minor commonly know as vinca or periwinkle is one of the most popular and widely used ground covers. Trailing stems with smooth, evergreen leaves (to 1.5" long) root at the nodes as they go along the ground and quickly spread to form an attractive ground cover. Tubular, lavender blue, phlox-like flowers (to 1 inch across) appear in the leaf axils in spring and continue to flower intermittently throughout summer into fall. Foliage will mound up to 6" tall. Also commonly called dwarf periwinkle and creeping myrtle.

Genus name is from Latin meaning to bind or wind around in reference to the long, flexible stems that were used in wreath making.

Specific epithet means smaller. The leaves of Vinca minor are smaller than those of Vinca major.


No serious insect problems but vinca stem canker (blight) can damage or kill large patches. Can spread aggressively into adjacent lawns or garden areas.


Versatile ground cover for shady areas. Good cover for bulbs. Effective on slopes or banks to stabilize soils and prevent erosion.