Periwinkle, Myrtle

By: C. Colston Burrell
Periwinkle's flowers are a lovely shade of See more pictures of perennials.

The charming periwinkle, also called myrtle, has a long history. Originally a native of southern Europe, plants were brought over by the colonists, and now it has naturalized over much of the Northeast. "Periwinkle" is thought to be an old Slavic word, pervinka, meaning "first" and referring to the early spring flowers.


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Description of periwinkle: Periwinkle is a trailing plant about 6 inches high with small, oval, opposite, dark green, shiny, evergreen leaves. In spring, 5-petaled flowers, about 3/4-inch in diameter, are borne on short stems in a lovely shade of blue. Periwinkle ease of care: Easy.

How to grow periwinkle: Periwinkles will grow in full sun, but they prefer light or partial shade. Good, well-drained garden soil is best. Note: This plant is invasive in some regions.


Propagating periwinkle: By division or by cuttings.

Uses for periwinkle: An excellent ground cover, periwinkle is also a welcome change when planted along the edge of beds or borders and lining flagstone or brick walks.

Periwinkle related varieties: 'Alba' has pure white flowers, larger than the species. 'Bowles Variety' is more compact than the species, with profuse flowering into May.

Scientific name for periwinkle: Vinca minor


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