You may be surprised to learn that Vincas, or Periwinkles, come in a variety of types and tolerances. Whether you are looking for something to complement your containers or beds, in sun or shade, as an annual or perennial, there is a Vinca for you!
Vinca Minor, or Common Periwinkle, can be a wonderful addition to your shady urns, baskets and beds. While most often used as groundcover in shady to partly shaded areas, it does very well confined to containers as well. (Adding greenery to your ornamental pots and baskets gives them a full, healthy look. Many types of vines, ferns and trailing florals can provide substance to your container plantings, especially when they are first created.)
The deep green leaves of Vinca Minor not only gracefully cascade over urns and baskets but also provide for additional blooms now and then. The sporadic, dainty blue color of the blooms especially complement other cool, shade-loving flowers.
As you know, usually when there is a minor, there is also a major and this is the case with Vinca. Vinca Major is essentially a somewhat larger version of Vinca Minor. While still dainty, the blue flowers of Vinca Major are a tad bigger than the Minor variety, as are its leaves. Vinca Major is able to tolerate a bit more sun, so if you have an urn, basket or flower bed that receives such, you may opt to plant Vinca Major instead of Minor as long as the larger qualities work within your overall design. Vinca Minor and Vinca Major are evergreen perennials but if planted in containers where they cascade over, additional protection during freezes will be necessary.
And lastly, there is also Annual Vinca. While just as beautiful, it is quite different in growth habit and appearance from both the Minor and Major forms. Annual Vinca tolerates full sun, blooms non-stop during the summer and can reach heights up to 18 inches. Annual Vinca can easily be found in white and pink colors, but these days the color varieties have expanded to include salmon, magenta and other vibrant colors. Annual Vinca looks nice in containers but does not have the vining effect of the other Vincas mentioned above. As its name states, Annual Vinca dies at the first freeze.
In conclusion, contrast and comparison, I would consider Annual Vinca more suited as a primary addition to a container or bed whereas Vinca Minor and/or Major would be best used as complementary filler plants. All Vincas are quite drought tolerant and do not like soggy feet. The greatest issue with Vincas is fungal. Annual Vinca can contract a lethal stem rot typically introduced to the soil unknowingly through purchased infected plants. Once this fungus takes hold it is very hard to control and in fact, may persist in the soil for a few years. It is best to avoid planting Vincas in the same location once a fungal outbreak has occurred. Otherwise, Vincas are quite pest free and can serve as excellent additions to just about any area of your landscape this season (in sun/shade, container/bed, or for one year/years to come).
Until next time,