Dwarf Periwinkle – Vinca minor
With violet-blue blossoms scattered across a field of emerald green, Dwarf Periwinkle is a popular groundcover in the Pikes Peak region. Also available in white and purple-red, these 5-petaled pinwheel-shaped flowers bring welcome color to a shady spot. The shiny leaves are arranged along stems that may reach three feet in length, but are only six inches high. The stems will root wherever they touch the ground.
Dwarf Periwinkle requires partial to full shade; the leaves develop chlorosis and the plant declines in full sun. It does best in fertile, well-drained loam, but will tolerate less-than-optimal conditions. While preferring damp soil, established plantings will endure some drought. Allowing the foliage and soil surface to dry between waterings helps prevent Vinca Stem Blight, a fungal disease brought on by constantly wet conditions.
Because it competes successfully with tree roots, Periwinkle is frequently used as an evergreen groundcover under woody plants. The trailing stems are also attractive spilling over the sides of flowering containers.
Contributed by Leslie Holzmann, Colorado Master Gardener. For information, contact the Master Gardener Help Desk at 636.8921 or CSUmg2@elpasoco.com
Photo courtesy of Leslie Holzmann.