Department of Horticulture New York State Horticulture Study Guide for Youth 4-H Logo


Flowers &
Indoor Plants

Fruits & Nuts



Special Topics



Cornell University

Periwinkle, Myrtle
Vinca minor
(vin-cah mi-nor)

Click on thumbnails for larger image.

What about it?

The periwinkle is a small (up to 6 inches), trailing, evergreen shrub with dark glossy green leaves. From April to May the periwinkle plant becomes spotted with small flowers that are the unusual shade of "periwinkle blue."

What is it used for?

Periwinkle is a popular ornamental plant because of the delightful blue blossoms. Periwinkle has also had much success when used as a ground cover for erosion control on steep banks. Most folks enjoy the dense foliage as a ground cover or filler in their gardens.

Where does it grow? How do we grow it?

The periwinkle can grow in either sun or shade, although the best results come from a partially shaded spot. When planting, give periwinkle plants a foot of growing room for their trailing stems.

What are its primary problems?

Canker can become a problem for periwinkle plants. Also, because periwinkle is a trailing shrub, it may be difficult at times of rapid growth to contain the plant.

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Copyright, Department of Horticulture, Cornell University.