Types and Varieties of Garden Vinca

Periwinkle – traditional ground cover plants, especially for shaded areas. The wild form of the small (and perhaps many of its varieties) makes even the darkness of the lime forest (Park) and spruce forest, although not blooming in such conditions, but creates thick homogeneous carpets. This is one of the few plants that can withstand not just a shadow, but a dry shadow, managing to pull its short roots moisture from any soil. This property makes periwinkle valuable elements of container compositions in the shade.

To the soil they are undemanding, but especially quickly grow and bloom longer on fertile and loose with a neutral reaction. In such conditions, periwinkles can become aggressive and not only suppress small plants, but also prevent the regrowth of large ones. Although over time, they will create a dense and lush cover, to speed up the process is to pinch the ends of the shoots.

Periwinkle quickly multiply themselves, rooting stems in knots landing, cerecalase easily, so seeding is not practiced even by the breeders. And new varieties give rise not to unique seedlings, but random sports and natural anomalies.

The magic of periwinkle

It is impossible not to mention the role of periwinkle in religious rites and its magical significance, which indicates the long-standing connection of a modest flower with the culture of mankind. The ancient Romans, who used wreaths and garlands of periwinkle (maybe big, maybe small) at the funeral, carried the plant to the occupied territories. Perhaps the Romans did not attach any special importance to periwinkle and without unnecessary sentimentality chose this plant because its long shoots are easily woven and long retain a neat appearance. But this custom has come back to different peoples in different ways, has undergone changes and often acquired a symbolic meaning.

Types and Varieties of Garden Vinca

If in Italy the periwinkle still make garlands for the children’s funeral, while in other countries of Europe in the middle ages in wreaths from it went to the place of execution, condemned to death criminals, heretics and witches in particular. And now in France a plant is called “violet of witchcraft”, in memory about his unwitting ties with those events.

And in the traditions of other Nations it is associated not with death, but with love and eternity. According to the ideas of astrological botany, the famous developer of which in the XVII century was an Englishman Nicholas Culpepper, if lovers eat together periwinkle, then get engaged forever. In Austria and Germany wreaths from periwinkle used for divination on marriage, Yes and to this day they participate in wedding ceremonies.

Types and Varieties of Garden Vinca

One can only wonder at the peculiarities of the mentality, fixated on death, and regret that the attitude towards periwinkle and remained unchanged since the days of Ancient Rome. At Dahl it is called “coffin-grass”, and in the people it is still considered a cemetery plant.

Types and varieties of periwinkle

Despite the fact that there are more than a dozen species in the genus, only three of them are used in our horticulture, but together with varieties even this is enough to provide a diverse range of ground cover plants.

Vinca herbacea

This is a somewhat forgotten old garden plant. Vinca herbacea is found in light forests and shrubs on rocky slopes from Greece to the Caucasus and the Middle East. In full accordance with the name, he loses stems every winter, reborn in the spring.

This periwinkle does not climb or crawl, but spreads on the surrounding thin stems with widely spaced pairs of narrow leaves and graceful flowers of the “propeller”shape. Gardeners are also known for its white-flowered variety ‘Alba’.

Types and Varieties of Garden Vinca

Everything would be fine, however, annually growing, it not only makes up for lost time, but also manages to root the top of each escape, creating new centers of revival. And since the escape is stuck in any free crack, not caring about the design, the chaos in the flower garden turns classic. Perhaps fans of this look like as a basket plant for containers.

Vinca major

It is an evergreen species with lodging and standing stems. Leaf ovate and really large, up to 9 cm long. The flower of classical celestial color with wide petals can reach 5 cm in diameter.

Vinca major comes from the Mediterranean, the Caucasus, but is widely naturalized in Europe. In nature, there are varieties of var. oxyloba — with narrow leaves and flower lobes, and var. hirsuta from the Caucasus and the black sea coast of Turkey — with a narrow flower and strongly pubescent young shoots.

Types and Varieties of Garden Vinca

Of course he has a variety of ‘Alba’ with wide white flowers, and a number of variegated. Often sold ‘Variegata’ with a white border steadily freezes in Moscow, about ‘Maculata’ with blurring yellow veins and other, less interesting, nothing is known. It is better to consult Vinca minor, which is harder to destroy than to convict.

Vinca minor

Homeland – South European part of Russia, the Mediterranean, Asia Minor. Grade not inferior to the viability of the wild form. Their list is quite large, but being, as a rule, the result of creativity of small nurseries, they often have a very limited distribution, and their commercial fate depends on the case.

Types and Varieties of Garden Vinca

Varieties of classic color

‘Bowles’ Variety’ (‘Bowles’, ‘La Grave’) – selected clone, preserving in principle the signs of the wild type, but more powerful, blooming abundantly in spring and large, the individual flowers are produces from spring until autumn. Popular and became the ancestor of a number of variegated varieties that arose as his sports.

Often referred to as ‘Dart’s Blue’ is almost the same, only the flowers are slightly paler. ‘Marie’ is low on the ground, the flowers are typical. ‘Sabinka’ is a smaller copy of the previous one.

Types and Varieties of Garden Vinca

With white flowers:

  • ‘Alba’ – no different from the wild shape, decorated with white flowers with a reddish tube;
  • ‘Emily Joy’ – a new variety, often mentioned, but it is unclear from the descriptions, what is different from other similar. It is said only that it forms pillows, and the flowers stand out well on dark leaves;
  • ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ (‘Miss Jekyll’) – compact slowly growing form with small leaves and snow-white flowers.

Types and Varieties of Garden Vinca

Dark purple flowers has ‘Atropurpurea’ (‘Purpurea’, ‘Rubra’), but more he has no differences from the wild form. It was discovered in England in 1920 and got a start in life from the hands of a certain M. Cran, author of radio programs on gardening.


Some confusion exists among Terry varieties with simple green leaves. If the white Terry, which is mentioned very rarely, and is called ‘Albo Plena’, then for varieties ‘Flore Pleno’ (‘Florepleno’, ‘Multiplex’) indicate that purple, then blue flowers.

Types and Varieties of Garden Vinca

Perhaps these names hide two varieties: ‘Double Purple’ – a powerful plant, but the flowers are small, purple (purple) color, and ‘Azurea Flore Pleno’ — with blue flowers. The latter blooms very stretched, blooming until late autumn, but produces flowers per hour on a teaspoon. It’s hard to see at least a few at a time.


The name ‘Variegata’ combines numerous clones with light-bordered leaves and sky-blue flowers. The color of the border varies from white to yellow, sometimes changing depending on the conditions and age of the leaf. However, you can call ‘Argenteovariegata’ those forms in which the border is clearly white, and ‘Aureovariegata’ those that bear yellow.

Types and Varieties of Garden Vinca

‘Alba Variegata’ (‘Albo-variegata’) has a cream-edged leaf and almost white flower with a lilac hue and a reddish tube.

From this motley company of clones selected varieties with the most pronounced individual characteristics, combining the white, then blue flowers with fringed leaves, which differ in the width of the border and the predominance of white or yellow. But there are not so many options, and the parallel activity of different breeders leads to the appearance of very similar, if not identical varieties.

Types and Varieties of Garden Vinca

From variegated white rare ‘Golden’, which has developed leaves with a yellow border, and young – completely yellow. Highly recommend ‘Valley Glow’ with the same signs. Its bright green with yellow foliage seems luminous, and even the stem is yellow.

Among the owners of traditional flowers the theme of white border develops ‘Ralph Shugert’, whose dark leaves are circled by a clear and narrow border. This ‘Bowles’ Variety’ sport is as powerful as a parent. It is very similar to the common ‘Sterling Silver’.

In the direction of yellow evades ‘Blue and Gold’, which has such a wide border that overshadows the green middle. Something like this is ‘Sunny Skies’, which retains its color well in all situations. Quite rarely mentioned ‘Moonlit’, which combines all at once – Terry purple flowers and leaves with a cream border.

Types and Varieties of Garden Vinca

Wonderful and well-recognized American variety ‘Illumination’ was unexpectedly discovered in 1995 by the owner of the nursery Christie Hensler among her irises and daylilies. Stands a large and very thick leathery leaves, covered with a generous dash of yellow; it happens that the leaf is completely yellow. Flowers are standard. The plant really “illuminates” the dark corners of the garden. The disadvantages include the fact that it grows too slowly, besides gives reversions – the usual green shoots that have to be cut.

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