Periwinkle Colorful Combinations

It seems like every garden has that tricky dark corner where no grass will grow and where perennials fizzle out. Enter periwinkle. This tough-as-nails shade lover seems to look more and more lush, year after year, without needing much care. With its vigorous sprawling habit, periwinkle can easily colonize any area. In some places, that can be a problem. In more harsh northern climates, periwinkle is not quite invasive, but in places like California with mild climates, these plants can quickly take over a garden. No matter where you are, it’s best to stay on top of them to keep them in bounds.

Periwinkle Care Must-Knows

Overall, these plants are pretty tough and can grow in almost any situation. However, they prefer humus-rich soil that is evenly moist. They’ll still grow in poor soil that dries out a bit, but maybe not as vigorously. These plants prefer dappled sun, but they’ll take what they can get and can grow in full sun or full shade.

Minor or Major

Most commonly, the periwinkle you will find in a garden center is Vinca minor. This is the hardier and smaller plant of the two main species—minor in Latin simply means smaller. The other species commonly found is Vinca major. As you may guess, major means bigger. Vinca major is an overall larger plant, with bigger leaves, flowers, and habit. However, Vinca major is less hardy and is, therefore, less often seen, especially in northern climates, or it is treated as an annual.

Purple Vinca

Vinca minor ‘Atropurpurea’ is a beautiful creeping plant that bears dark purple flowers on and off from spring to fall. Zones 4-9


The Vinca minor plant offers pretty blue blooms that appear periodically from spring to frost. This plant thrives in zones 4-9.

Periwinkle Companion Plants


In early spring, the beautiful blue, pink, or white flowers of lungwort bloom in spite of the cold weather. The rough basal leaves, spotted or plain, are always attractive and continue to look good through the season and into winter. Planted close together as a groundcover that discourages weeds, or in borders as edgings or bright accent plants, lungworts are workhorses that retain their good looks. Provide high-humus soil that retains moisture. Although lungwort tolerates dry conditions, be alert for mildew.


Lilyturf is a popular choice for groundcover or edging, thanks to its tough nature and ability to stay green year-round in many climates. It produces pretty blue or white flowers, and its dense tufts of almost-evergreen, broadly grassy leaves are often striped. Stiff stems bear tight spikes of tiny blue or white bells, similar to those of grape hyacinth. Lilyturf thrives when protected from drying winds in rich, well-drained soil that retains moisture.

Hakone Grass

The elegant, sweeping lines of this grass are so lovely that it’s a favorite among gardeners. And Japanese forest grass is one of only a few ornamental grasses that thrive in shade. Its mounding clumps of arching, grassy leaves gradually increase in size, never becoming invasive. Variegated cultivars are particularly attractive. All thrive in moisture-retaining, humus-rich soil and even tolerate dry conditions.

  • Garden Plans for Periwinkle
  • Hosta-Filled Shade Garden
  • Create a beautiful, low-maintenance shade garden that’s full of texture from spring to fall.
  • Corner of Shrubs
  • Trees and shrubs are the four-seasons backbones of the landscape. Create an eye-catching vignette with these woody plants in your garden.


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