The flower periwinkle is the Italian name for Vinca minor, a perennial herbaceous species of the Apocynaceae family. Typical of Europe and Asia Minor, and naturalized in North America, is widespread in the Italian peninsula along the hedges, in cool and shady areas from the sea to the mountains. Its stems, emerging from a long rhizome, crawling and lying, have simple leaves, elliptical-lanceolate, dark green and shiny.
It blooms from February to June and appears among the first early species as soon as the winter is over. The Flower periwinkle loves moisture, however it does not live well if the growing medium is wet. Consequently, in the hot season it is advisable to carry out frequent watering, but without creating stagnation of water or soak the soil. In winter, the water supply should be suspended or reduced depending on the climate.
How to cultivate it
The flowers of Periwinkle, inserted in the axil of the leaves, are of a typical blue colour called blue periwinkle: in many cases the shade of the corolla is transformed into pure white or darkens towards the violet. The regular flower periwinkle is tubular with five lacinias cut obliquely in a very characteristic way. The fruit consists of two independent follicles. The periwinkle is widely cultivated in gardens, especially in the species Vinca minor, with flowers of 2 cm in diameter.
Vinca major, with flowers of 4-5 cm in diameter, and Vinca difformis, with flowers of intermediate size compared to those of the other two species, are also cultivated. The plant must be grown in a sunny area or at most with an exposure to half a shade and also does not fear the cold.
- Of European origin, is a kind of 7 species of herbaceous and suffruticose plants, perennial, small in size. The most common are V. minor and Vinca major, crawling perennials, also used in the production of…
- It was the favourite flower of Jean Jacques Rosseau. It grows spontaneously almost throughout Europe. In the Celts, periwinkle was particularly dear to the wizards, who used it to grow their plants.
- The flower Vinca minor, originally from Europe and the Tropics, is commonly known as Periwinkle. Its name comes from the Latin vincire, i.e. to bind because the stems are intertwined in the earth.
- The periwinkle colour, a sort of light blue-violet vaguely greyish, owes its name to the flower vinca. The Vinca is a kind of plant belonging to the family of Apocynaceae. It is native to the E…
Soil and fertilization
The Flower periwinkle grows without problems in any drained soil, although it prefers a slightly acidic substrate. It is advisable to add woodland soil and peat to the leaf mould and to avoid sandy and too dry soils. The results are obtained with a soil that is moist, light, averagely loose and rich in nutrients. The fertilization of plants belonging to this species is not a necessary operation. At most, granular fertilizer for flowering plants can be spread on the soil at the end of winter.
Alternatively, liquid fertiliser can be administered every 15 days in the same period of time together with water for watering. It is recommended not to add too much nitrogen fertiliser because it can cause poor flowering and too much vegetation.
Flower periwinkle: Widespread species and pests
In the gardens is also Vinca herbacea, a species of South-Eastern Europe. In greenhouses is common the Vinca rosea, of African origin, which can be kept open by us only in southern Italy. The Vinca minor variety also has medicinal properties: the leaves and young stems contain astringent principles and are used in the treatment of dysentery and congestion. The flower periwinkle can be attacked by rust, which causes reddish spots on the leaves.
The leaves can also be affected by the red spider web, which makes them yellow and die: defoliation has a significant effect on the aesthetic appearance of the plants, however, it is good not to use acaricides. In fact, the parasites are hardly eradicated and the problem occurs again the following year. For this reason, it is advisable not to place the Periwinkle near roses and other sensitive plants.