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Blue Periwinkle Vinca major

Phonetic Spelling
VIN-kah MAY-jor
This plant is an invasive species in North Carolina
Description

Big Leaf Periwinkle Is an evergreen ground cover from Asia Minor which forms a dense mat. Prefers part shade to shade in fertile well-drained soil. The blue-to-violet flowers appear in spring and may bloom intermittently through autumn. It can be grown in containers outside of zone 7.  Its non-flowering stems grow along the ground, with the flowering stems standing upright.  

This plant is considered invasive in VA, SC, GA, AL and California.  It spreads as its nodes come in contact with the surrounding soil, forming roots.   Moving waters can also dislodge pieces of the stems and wash them downstream where they can form additional colonies.

Quick ID

  • Stems vine-like, unbranched
  • Leaves opposite, ovate, ciliate
  • Flowers rotate

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  This evergreen can spread aggressively, becoming invasive as it spread to adjacent beds and lawns, particularly in southern locations.  In locations where its aggressive growth is unchecked, it can crowd out native plants and degrade animal habitats.  Insects that may affect this plant include nematodes and aphids.  Disease issues include root rot, leaf spot and blight.  It is a known host to a bacterium that may cause Pierce's disease, a deadly disease for grapevines.

See this plant in the following landscapes:
Water Feature Courtyard Entrance Garden
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Variegata'
    Violet Blue Flowers
'Variegata'
Tags:
#evergreen#invasive#drought tolerant#perennials#high maintenance#erosion control#cpp#aggressive#herbaceous#deer resistant#herbaceous perennials#groundcover#fantz#dry soils tolerant#HS302#heavy shade tolerant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Variegata'
    Violet Blue Flowers
'Variegata'
Tags:
#evergreen#invasive#drought tolerant#perennials#high maintenance#erosion control#cpp#aggressive#herbaceous#deer resistant#herbaceous perennials#groundcover#fantz#dry soils tolerant#HS302#heavy shade tolerant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Vinca
    Species:
    major
    Family:
    Apocynaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Asia
    Wildlife Value:
    Resistant to damage by deer
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 8 in. - 1 ft. 6 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Ground Cover
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Perennial
    Vine
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Creeping
    Dense
    Erect
    Horizontal
    Open
    Prostrate
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    High
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    Slender, cylindrical fruit is up to 2 inches long. Splitting when dry to release three to five seeds. Seldom seen in cultivation.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Head
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Funnel
    Star
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Flowers are solitary, axillary, anthocyanin pigmented (violet) or white; corolla rotate, actinomorphic, 5-lobed.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are opposite, simple, evergreen, green or variegated, ovate, acute, rotund, entire and ciliolate.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Stems are erect with apex arching toward the ground. They contain a milky latex.
  • Landscape:
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Erosion
    Heavy Shade
    Problems:
    Invasive Species