- Vinca Major Hardy Planting Zones- 4-8 Sun or Shade – Partial to Full Shade Mature Height - 3-6" (vines to 18" long) Mature Width- 6-18"
Commonly known as large periwinkle or blue button, Vinca Major is an evergreen perennial that can grow up to 1.5 feet tall. It is most commonly, however, used as a ground cover. It also usually does well when planted in containers. Vinca Major is a mat-forming perennial growing on sturdy stalks producing dark green ovate to lanceolate leaves that measure up to thee-inches long. The glossy leaves usually grow on opposing sides of the stem. These leaves often roll under slightly along their edges. Non-flowering stems grow along the ground while flowering stems grow upright. Vinca Major usually roots at each leaf node.
The plant also produces tubular blue flowers that bloom from the leaf spikes in early spring. The five-petaled flowers are about the size of a quarter, and they radiate pinwheel style from the floral tube. Usually, the plant blooms profusely in the spring. It may, however, put on sporadic blossoms until early fall. Once established, this plant spreads rapidly making it a great plant to cover an area quickly. This plant prefers full sun, but it will tolerate some shade. There are fewer blooms when this plant is grown in the darkness, but it often puts on more leaves. It prefers dry soil, but it is moderately tolerant of wet conditions once it gets established. Vinca Major grows equally well in all types of land including clay and loam. It does prefer neutral to the slightly alkaline soil.
It is very likely that this plant was first introduced to America from England when the country was very young as an ornamental. Its deep roots make it an ideal candidate where soil erosion is a problem. It can be taught to grow over stone walls making it a great candidate for a conversation piece in these areas. Some gardeners also plant it above bulbs to protect during the colder months. The Vinca Major is named for its 2" full pale blue-violet flowers that begin blooming in April and continue to thrive in some regions until September. Its vines have oval-shaped leaves that are dark green to yellowish or may have dark centers with lighter edges. Originally introduced into the US as a decorative plant, it now grows so well across the country that is in considered an invasive species in some regions.
Vinca major is an excellent plant to add to a garden, especially if open spaces surround that garden. It is both deer and drought resistant. It stays as healthy in full sun as it does in full shade or partial sun. It does well not only as a ground cover, but also in hilly areas, and makes an excellent cover for a retaining wall. Periwinkle does not do as well in dry or sandy soil, so care should be taken that it is kept moist, especially when grown in bright, sunny areas. Purchasing Vinca Major is relatively straightforward. Most nurseries ship the plants in bare root bundles, though some gardeners prefer to propagate the plants from cuttings or dividing segments of the vine's roots. Gardeners should always take note that not only do these vines spread fast and quickly grow into a dense mat of foliage, but they also spread soon, too. It just takes 100 plants to cover more than 200 square feet of space.