First Groundcover…Try Periwinkle

Groundcovers rarely receive rave reviews or get a lot of positive press in magazines but they can play an important role in your garden. If you have problem areas in your yard than groundcovers may be the solution to your problem!  If you have areas where the grass is difficult to grow or maintain, try a groundcover. If you have flower beds in shady areas or have problems growing plants under trees, try a groundcover. Are you looking for a good alternative to mulch under shrubs, try a groundcover. If you’ve never used a groundcover in your garden before then you’ll want to start with a plant that is easy to work with and periwinkle, also known as vinca minor, may be just what you are looking for.

Periwinkle is an evergreen plant, meaning it generally keeps its leaves even during the winter. It is hardy in USDA zones 4 through 10 and its dense growth habit inhibits weeds and acts almost like living mulch. Its stems root when they are in contact with the soil so it can cover larger areas in a short period of time. It tolerates both sun and shade but in zones 8 through 10 it really should only be used in the shade as it won’t tolerate the hot, sunny conditions associated with those garden zones. While it is evergreen throughout the year it bursts into bloom early in the spring; just when you need some color after a long winter. Most of the time the blooms are blue or a shade of purple but white flowering varieties are available as well.

Periwinkle is a great companion plant to go along with spring flowering bulbs such as daffodils as its low growing habit and blue color make a nice contrast to the yellow flowering daffodils which are taller than the periwinkle. As an added benefit, after the daffodil blooms fade the periwinkle will help cover up the daffodil foliage as it ripens. Periwinkle prefers soil that is moist and that drains well but frankly, I’ve found it adapts to a wide variety of soil types. Once established it is a very tough, low maintenance plant and I’ve even rejuvenated this groundcover by going over it with a lawn mower!  Now that’s what I call tough! It takes a year or two for a bed of periwinkle to become the thick carpet that you see in these pictures and fall is a good time of the year to plant periwinkle. You can order it right here at Blooming Secrets; so, if you have problem areas in your yard or frankly you just want to reduce some work in your garden; give periwinkle a try.

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