Periwinkles have been easy to grow additions to flowerbeds and landscaping plans for many years. Heat and drought tolerant, periwinkles will thrive in nearly any area with very little care, producing attractive, glossy green or variegated foliage and delicate five petal blooms in a variety of colours. Two types of periwinkles are commonly planted by gardeners, trailing plants that make an excellent ground cover, such as the Vinca Major and Vinca Minor varieties and upright bedding plants, such as the Madagascar or Rosy periwinkle varieties. Ground cover varieties of the periwinkle produce flowers in shades of blue, purple, and white, and will spread quickly, self propagating wherever a trailing shoot comes in contact with the ground. Madagascar or Rosy periwinkle varieties are often treated as annuals, but are actually perennials that will seed themselves to return in the spring when grown in warmer climates. These varieties can produce blooms in colours that include red, pink, rose and white.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Growing periwinkles from seed is relatively easy, and can be done directly in he ground in the early spring after the last frost, or started indoors eight to ten weeks before the last frost to be transplanted to the garden later. To sow seeds directly in the garden, prepare the area by loosening the soil and adding in a bit of compost. Indoor planting can be done in containers filled with a loose, well drained potting soil. Simply sprinkle your periwinkle seeds over the soil, then keep the soil moist, but not soaking wet. A light mist is the best way to water, ensuring that the tiny seeds are not washed away.
Transplanting seedlings started at home or purchased in a garden centre should be done after all danger of frost has passed. Individual plants should be spaced about eight to twelve inches apart and watered thoroughly when planted. Periwinkles prefer slightly shady conditions, but will grow in full sun. Mulching around your plants will help to keep the soil evenly moist to give your seedlings a solid start. Once established, periwinkles will bloom right through the season, up until the first frost. These hardy plants only need watering only during very dry periods, as they are well suited to hot, dry environments.
Periwinkle plants of the ground cover varieties spread quite quickly and can become invasive if left to themselves. Thinning new growth periodically can prevent these prolific plants from travelling into areas where they haven't been invited. The upright varieties will produce seeds at the end of season, which can be left to reseed your flowerbed for the spring if yours is a warmer climate, or collected and saved for spring planting in the colder areas.