The sturdy perennial becomes 15 cm to 30 cm high and also looks attractive in natural stone walls, raised beds and as a border planting on the garden pond. If the small periwinkle is properly cared for, it will delight the hobby gardener from April to September with its brightly colored flowers, which contrast nicely with the slightly shiny, lush green leaves. The fast growth of 15 cm per year can be kept in check with targeted cutting.
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The lesser periwinkle can in principle be planted all year round. The best time is early spring, because then the plant has enough time to grow well and form strong roots. If you observe the following care instructions, you will enjoy the lush plant, even if it belongs to the dog poison family and is poisonous in all parts:
- sunny, partially shaded to shady location;
- ideal planting distance 30 cm;
- good growth in loose, humus-rich, nutrient-rich soil;
- to enrich sandy soil with peat;
- water only in case of long drought;
- fertilize with compost in the spring;
- apply liquid fertilizer once or twice in winter;
- Cut back only if desired.
If the small periwinkle is used as a ground cover, 6 to 8 plants should be planted per m² so that the decorative carpet of flowers is created.
Cutting and propagation go hand in hand
So that the little periwinkle does not gain the complete upper hand in the garden, it can be easily cut into shape. The optimal time for pruning is late spring. The long tendrils are cut off with scissors and can then be used to propagate the Vinca minor. In order for the cuttings to take root quickly at their new location, the soil there should first be loosened and enriched with compost. Alternatively, the cuttings can first be planted in a 9 cm pot in a slightly sandy substrate. There they can first develop their roots in peace in a sunny to partially shaded location before they are planted in the garden. During this time, the potting soil is kept slightly moist, without waterlogging.
The ideal time to plant Small Periwinkles is in spring, as soon as the frost has cleared the ground. In the first step, the selected location is thoroughly cleared of all weeds. At the same time, the soil is loosened up well so that the tender roots of the still young plants grow quickly and safely. If well-rotted garden compost, a few handfuls of horn shavings or some leaf mulch are worked into the soil on this occasion, the small periwinkle will be well supplied with nutrients until next spring. Then the pot is removed from the root ball and a planting hole is dug that is at least twice the size of the root ball. This is placed in the middle of the hole, which is first half filled with earth. This is thoroughly slurried with water,before the rest of the potting soil follows and is lightly trodden down.
Small periwinkle is available in various types of specialist shops, the most popular of which are briefly presented below:
- the classic with the blue flowers
- can also be found in the wild
Vinca Minor ‚Alba ‘
- white flowers 2 cm in diameter
- Flowering from May to September
Vinca Minor ‚Rubra‘
- dark red to purple flowers
- Flowering from May to September
Vinca Minor ‚Yellow Eye Catcher‘
- beautiful blue flowers
- showy yellow foliage
Vinca minor ´Atropurpurea´
- small, mauve flowers
- feels good under trees
- urban climate resistant
Vinca minor ´Bavaria´
- with blue and white flowers
- forms such a colorful cushion
- needs water regularly
Vinca minor ´Austria´
- makes white and reddish-purple flowers
- a special feature
Vinca minor ´Bowles´
- bright, blue-violet flowers
- a highlight among the varieties
Vinca minor ´Elisa´
- brilliant white flowers
- particularly healthy variety
- becomes only 10 cm high
Vinca minor ´Marie´
- numerous light blue flowers
- ideal for grave planting
Vinca minor ´Ralph Shugert´
- blue-purple flowers
- blooms from March
- unusual foliage with a white margin
- particularly hardy
As a rule, small evergreen is offered as a container plant in specialist shops. It is rare to find seeds because the Vinca minor only produce seeds when they can hardly produce shoots due to adverse conditions, for example in prolonged drought or in karstified soil.
Sowing the seeds requires patience
Although small periwinkle is mainly offered as a container plant in specialist shops, a few suppliers of seeds are also represented. These usually offer colorful mixtures that can be sown under glass from February to April. Germination takes place at a temperature of 20 ° to 24 ° Celsius. The sowing is then pricked out after a further 3 to 4 weeks at a distance of 2 cm to 3 cm. At the end of May, the young plants are ready to be planted in the bed. Experienced hobby gardeners know, however, to report that all the factors of the sowing really have to harmonize perfectly with each other in order for it to be crowned with success.
Preventing grief growth
After a particularly rainy summer, the little evergreen is threatened with a sparse offspring of young shoots in the following spring because too much of the nutrients have been washed out of the soil. The experienced hobby gardener prevents this growth of grief in good time. For this purpose, the earth around the planting is dug up in early spring and enriched with fertilizer. Leaf mulch and hardwood chippings are well suited because this material gradually releases its nutrients over a longer period of time as it decomposes. Good garden compost can also be used. The use of artificial fertilizers is less expensive, but has to be repeated or refreshed regularly over the course of the growth period.
Leaf mulch promotes growth
The enrichment of the potting soil of the lesser periwinkle with leaf mulch does not have to be limited to preventing weeping growth, but should always be used in the care of this ground cover. Vinca minor naturally spreads rapidly, but the incorporation of leaf mulch into the surrounding soil also supports flower formation. In addition, the autumn leaves are far too good to simply dispose of, because this valuable biomass can be used in a versatile and beneficial way in the hobby garden. In a composter, large bucket, or other suitable container, the leaves are collected and compressed. It should be kept permanently moist for the next two weeks. In addition, the rotting is supported by the addition of garden lime or rock flour. However, the leaves of walnut trees, oaks and chestnut trees are not suitable as leaf mulch because they hardly rot due to their high tannic acid content. Incidentally, until it is worked into the ground as leaf mulch in spring, the autumn leaves can be piled up in a heap over the winter. In this way, the environmentally conscious hobby gardener creates comfortable winter quarters for numerous animals such as hedgehogs and frogs. To prevent it from being blown away by the wind, a protective net is placed over it, which is attached to pegs. to be piled up in a pile over the winter. In this way, the environmentally conscious hobby gardener creates comfortable winter quarters for numerous animals such as hedgehogs and frogs. To prevent it from being blown away by the wind, a protective net is placed over it, which is attached to pegs. to be piled up in a pile over the winter. In this way, the environmentally conscious hobby gardener creates comfortable winter quarters for numerous animals such as hedgehogs and frogs. To prevent it from being blown away by the wind, a protective net is placed over it, which is attached to pegs.
Small evergreen for tubs and flower boxes
The robust and easy-care plant is not only a splendidly blooming ground cover, but also an excellent plant for pots, hanging baskets and flower boxes. Thanks to its climbing and dense growth, the small periwinkle complements itself wonderfully with upright flowers such as geraniums, fuchsias or daisies. If the Vinca minor are planted in the front row of the flower box and the preferred vertical flowers in the back row, this results in numerous creative planting variants. A large bucket with a rose stem in the middle, which is surrounded by the colorful little evergreens, should attract everyone’s attention in every garden. The plant substrate should always be nutritious and loose. A drainage hole for the irrigation water prevents harmful waterlogging from building up.
Small periwinkle is extremely hardy by nature and can withstand temperatures down to -20 ° Celsius. However, if the plant is not planted until late summer or autumn, it will need some protection from the cold in the first year if the winter is severe. This protection can consist of a foil cover, a layer of brushwood or a garden fleece.
Diseases and pests
Small periwinkle is not only extremely robust, easy to care for and hardly lets through weeds, but also shows a remarkable resistance to diseases and pests. So the dreaded nudibranchs make a wide detour around the plant. For this reason, experienced hobby gardeners like to use Vinca minor as a border for other plants. However, one disease can bother the little evergreen:
Phoma stem foul
This fungal disease primarily affects Vinca minor, where it causes rot on stems and leaves. In nests, shoots and leaves first turn dirty green and then slowly turn black. The disease can spread to the entire plantation very quickly, especially in damp weather and at temperatures between 10 ° and 15 ° Celsius. Therefore, it mainly occurs on the plants in spring and autumn. Infested plants should be removed and destroyed immediately. When propagating by cuttings, these are carefully examined beforehand for possible infestation. Overhead irrigation is strongly discouraged because it encourages the fungus to spread. Since the Phoma stem rot is mainly spread by fleas,
The distinctive plant with its countless blue, white and purple flowers was mentioned as early as the 13th century and has been cultivated by humans ever since. Small periwinkle is still a popular ground cover that grows so densely that weeds hardly have a chance of breaking through here. The robust and easy-care plant can cope with almost any soil quality and grows just as attractively in the shade of trees as it does in the sunny ornamental garden bed. In the tub, in the hanging basket and in the balcony box, the Vinca minor also ensures a distinctive and lush appearance. The little evergreen can withstand cutting at any time, but does not necessarily need it. Since the plant rarely produces seeds, it is usually propagated by cuttings that are grown in spring. Except for the Phoma stem rot, the Vinca minor is largely resistant to diseases and pests and is even avoided by the voracious slugs. Therefore, the small periwinkle is often found as an attractive border for vegetables and ornamental plants.