Vinca major

The low-growing evergreen spreads and roots along the ground with its trailing, arching stems, forming a dense mat. It has dark glossy green, slightly hairy foliage with pointed tips. In early spring, it produces purplish-blue, star-like, funnel-shaped blossoms. The variety ‘Alba’ has white flowers, and many other varieties are available. This lush plant needs an ample amount of water to look good, but will tolerate deep, periodic irrigation. It will wilt if it becomes water-stressed. This groundcover likes to be planted in rich, well-draining soil. Periwinkle will show foliage damage at temperatures below fifteen degrees Fahrenheit, but recovers quickly if frosted back. It tolerates full sun, but looks best planted in filtered sun in the Southwest desert. It may become invasive with its greedy roots and is difficult to eradicate. All parts of this plant are poisonous if ingested. Use it as a bank cover, in containers, window boxes, and planters and as an understory plant for woodsy effects. Use periwinkle for erosion control, as filler for bare areas, or mixed into rock gardens. Try the variety ‘Variegata’ for its variegated leaves with yellowish-white leaf margins. The species is native to southern Europe, central Asia, and northern Africa.

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