Vinca Minor Vines

Ground Cover That Goes by Common Names "Creeping Myrtle," "Periwinkle Flower"

Image of Vinca minor ground cover in bloom.
Vinca minor offers attractive violet-blue flowers. David Beaulieu

Taxonomy of Vinca Minor Vines:

Plant taxonomy classifies this plant as Vinca minor. Its common names are "creeping myrtle" and "periwinkle flower." But this is a case where the scientific name is at least as well known as the common names.

Plant Type for Vinca Minor Vines:

Vinca minor vines are evergreen perennials of the broadleaf variety, with a creeping habit. In terms of usage, Vinca minor vines are classified as ground covers.


Vinca minor vines stay short, sprawling out over the ground. They typically stand only 3"-6" off the ground, but their trailing stems can reach 18" in length. The stems of these jointed plants root at the nodes as they creep along the ground and spread rapidly to form an attractive ground cover. Vinca minor vines put out the bluish-lavender "periwinkle flower" in spring and bloom intermittently throughout summer.

Sun and Soil Requirements:

Vinca minor vines require good drainage. Plant in partial sun to full shade. Good choice for a ground cover for an area with dry shade; while the plant will grow more vigorously in moist soils, Vinca minor vines are reasonably drought-tolerant once established. Achieving vigorous growth is usually not a problem for these plants (see below under "Caveats"). Vinca minor vines will thrive in soils rich in humus but will tolerate poorer soils.

Planting Zones for Vinca Minor Vines:

Indigenous to Southern Europe, vinca minor vines are best grown in planting zones 4-8.

Uses for Vinca Minor Vines in Landscape Design:

Vinca minor vines have traditionally been planted under large trees, where most lawn grass would suffer from insufficient light. Because tree roots also compete for moisture in such areas, drought-tolerant ground covers such as Vinca minor vines have a greater chance of surviving than "thirstier" plants would.

As a bonus, Vinca minor vines are deer-resistant. They're also rabbit-proof flowers.

Caveat About Growing This Ground Cover:

Vinca minor vines are considered somewhat invasive plants, so, if this is a concern for you, make it a point each year to keep their runners in check. But remember, the flip side of the coin for so-called "invasive plants" is that they are vigorous growers, meaning that they tend to be successful at filling in an area -- which is what you want out of a ground cover.

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