Vinca is a tough, reliable ground cover that offers evergreen foliage and spring flowers. The most common flower color is periwinkle blue (perhaps the reason for the common name periwinkle) and they also come in white and wine purple.

The flowers cover the plant in spring and make a smaller show in fall. Vinca is also a great spiller for containers with year round interest. Some varieties such as 'Illumination' or 'Wojo's Gem' have leaves variegated with gold or cream, and really add some pop to containers and dark corners.


Vinca thrives in our climate, and can be aggressive. Both Vinca minor and Vinca major are listed by the City of Portland as category B on their nuisance list. Vinca is not on state noxious weed list. This being said it is best to plant and maintain Vinca responsibly. Perhaps a shaded bed that is close to Forest Park or other public area is not the best place.

Abandoned patches of Vinca have been know to grow into our forested parks and abandoned lots. Because Vinca is so durable, flexible, and evergreen it is valuable in the garden.There is nothing quite like Vinca trailing over the edge of a shaded container in winter. It combines well with practically everything such as Hellebores, Lirope, and ferns. In the sun it looks great with grasses and perennials.

Vinca Minor

Vinca minor

Low growing, eight inches, with tow inch long leaves and 1 ¼ " flowers in spring and fall. A single plant can grow 5-10' wide as the stems root into the ground.

There are many different flower colors and leaf patterns available.

  • 'Alba'-This variety has pure white flowers and green leaves.
  • 'Atropurpurea'- Sports wine purple flowers and green leaves.
  • 'Bowles'-The classic Vinca with periwinkle blue flowers and green leaves.
  • 'Illumination'-A variety with bright gold leaves and a green edge. Periwinkle blue flowers in spring and fall.
  • 'Miss Jekyll'-A compact white flowering variety.
  • 'Moonlit'-Green leaves are edged in cream. Double blue flowers.
  • 'Ralph Shugert'-Green leaves are edged with white. Blue single flowers.
Vinca Major

Vinca major

This species originates from the Mediterranean and has three and a half inch leaves with two inch flowers. The plant reaches 18" tall, and spreads 5-10' wide. All varieties have blue flowers April through June. The seeds of this species have been historically used medicinally.

  • 'Maculata'-This variety has green leaves with gold centers.
  • 'Variegata'-Green leaves are edged with white.
  • 'Wojo's Gem'-Stunning leaves are cream with green edges and pink stems. Some leaves begin all cream and turn variegated as they age