Skip to main content

Should you be using Vinca minor as a ground cover in your lawn? This is what you need to know

Is Vinca minor right for your lawn? Here are the pros and cons

Purple periwinkle (Vinca minor) flowers
Pixabay/May_hokkaido

People are starting to look for alternatives to grass lawns, whether it’s because they’re easier to maintain, better for the environment, or just more attractive. From Irish moss lawns to creeping thyme, there are plenty of interesting plants you can grow as a ground cover. One popular grass alternative is Vinca minor, also known as common periwinkle. However, is this plant the best choice for your lawn? Here’s everything you need to know to make your decision!

Pros of Vinca minor

Vinca minor provides several benefits as a ground cover. It’s low maintenance and tolerates drought, sun, and shade. This is also a low-growing plant, which means you don’t need to worry about mowing it to keep the height down. It also grows quickly and vigorously, spreading to fill your entire lawn. It will spread to fill in empty patches, helping repair damaged sections and letting you save on seeds.

Its vigorous growth also gives your lawn a thick, lush appearance. This, coupled with the sleek, dark green leaves and beautiful blue or purple flowers, makes it particularly attractive as a ground cover. During mid to late spring, it produces so many flowers your lawn may look more blue than green! It will occasionally bloom again during summer and fall, although these are usually smaller.

Vinca minor (periwinkle) covering the ground
Pixabay/Anuta1988

Cons of using Vinca minor

For all the benefits it provides, Vinca minor isn’t perfect. The same vigorous growth that makes it a luscious lawn also makes it difficult to control. It has a tendency to spread into gardens, neighbors’ yards, or any other nearby spaces. Unfortunately, Vinca minor is also not native to the U.S. It is native to Europe, and its spreading habit and quick growth rate mean it outcompetes native plants. It is invasive; particularly in warmer regions. Although it is less invasive in colder regions where low temperatures may stunt its growth, this also prevents it from growing quite as densely.

Vinca minor does have some problems with common garden pests and fungal infections. The most common pests that bother Vinca minor are soft-bodied insects like aphids, whiteflies, and spider mites. You can control these with insecticidal soap.

Blue periwinkle (Vinca minor) flowers
Pixabay/Anuta1988

Alternatives to Vinca minor

If you want a beautiful, flowering ground cover that isn’t invasive, there are a few options you can choose from. Wild blue phlox is the most similar visually, while sedum resembles a succulent. Turkey tangle frogfruit is a good option if you live in the Southwest and need a ground cover that’s tolerant of heat and drought.

Now you know the pros and cons of using Vinca minor as a ground cover and can decide for yourself if it’s right for you. Vinca minor makes for a lush, beautiful lawn, but it can also spread out of control. Luckily, there are some native alternatives you can grow if you prefer.

Topics
Cayla Leonard
Cayla Leonard is a writer from North Carolina who is passionate about plants.  She enjoys reading and writing fiction and…
What should you do if you find a snake in your garden?
If you run into a slithering intruder while gardening, here’s what to do
Brown and black snake near some purple flowers

Outdoor gardens are bound to have outdoor creatures in them from time to time, but not all creatures are popular. While you might be delighted to see a bird or bunny in your garden (or feel distraught, if they’re eating your plants), many gardeners would be less excited to see a spider or snake. Snakes have an important role in our ecosystem, and they can even benefit your garden, but you might still wonder what exactly you should do if you see one. We’ll answer all your questions, so you’ll know what to do if you see a slithering intruder in your garden.
What to do if you see a snake

If you see a snake in your garden (or anywhere else), do not approach it. It’s easy to misidentify snakes, especially if they're moving quickly or partially hidden by plants, and even non-venomous snakes will bite if they feel threatened. Keep pets or children away from the area as well. In most cases, you can simply wait for the snake to leave with no further action.

Read more
7 gorgeous types of roses every gardener should know
Roses to add to your garden
Cluster of Sophy's Rose roses, dark pink blossoms

Roses are among the most iconic flowers. No matter the form, size, or color they take, roses are easily recognizable and beautiful. Whether they’re in a bouquet or growing in your garden, roses are a standout flower. However, roses come in more forms than you might think.

From the classic rose bush to the tiny miniature roses or elegant climbing roses, this guide to types of roses will cover seven roses you should know about. Adding one or more of these roses to your home or garden is sure to be an instant hit.
Cabbage roses

Read more
What you need to know about deadheading in your garden
Tips and tricks for deadheading your flowers
Gloved hand deadheading a lily

Flowers are a beautiful, colorful way to decorate your home or yard. Whether you’re growing a garden full of blooms or just a single flower to spruce up a corner of your home, you’ll want your plants to bloom as often and for as long as possible. One technique you may have heard of is deadheading. What is deadheading, though, and how does it work? How do you know if your plants would benefit from it, and how can you deadhead your plants without hurting them? We’ll answer all your questions about deadheading here in this simple guide.
What is deadheading?

Deadheading is the act of removing dead flowers from the plant. This serves a couple of purposes. It improves the aesthetics of plants and the garden overall by getting rid of dead blooms. More importantly, however, it frees up energy for your plant to use. Plants will continue to devote energy to blooms that have died, since this is where seeds or fruit form.

Read more