Variegated Vinca (Vinca major ‘Variegata’) in the Garden
Variegated Vinca major is sold every year at the big box stores under the guise as a spiller (or trailing plant) for baskets, pots, and containers. What many beginner gardeners do not know is that this is not just an annual but a perennial in zones 7-9.
Variegated Vinca is a great ‘spiller’ in container gardening. It will grow 2-3 foot to reach the ground. It loves to touch the ground and will continue to grow and spread even in the pot where it started. I have had it grow almost 4 1/2′ feet to touch the ground and take off under a hanging basket.
Variegated Vinca is drought tolerant and is so easy to grow. It spreads like wildfire here in zone 7 and is considered invasive. Variegated Vinca will fill in an area within a few short months. It does work great in part sun to full sun areas where nothing else will grow. It does have a pretty purple bloom in spring but do not let this pretty little plant get away from you.
Can Variegated Vinca be controlled if used as a groundcover?
There is not a clear cut yes or no but I can say from experience that it is more controllable than most other groundcovers. In zone 7 and up it will take some diligent gardening because this is an evergreen. In severe temps of 0 it will have some leaf damage and a bit of die back. I can tell you that if you leave any roots the Vinca will come back. If you want to control it, then you need to keep it trimmed and within a border.
The height of Variegated Vinca varies and can grow up about 8-12″ and then trail to 3′ or more. It is a pretty plant and I am guilty for even liking it. However, it is not a plant for native areas and should not ever be thrown in wooded areas where native plants and wildlife live. Invasive means that it takes over and chokes out the native plants and this plant will if left to grow uncontrolled. I have it in an area in the common area behind my house and it keeps growing even when I think I pulled it all out.
If you have experienced Variegated Vinca major as an invasive monster, let me know. I would love to know if this plant takes over in zones 4-6. Just remember that you do not need to buy this plant every year. If you live in a colder zone, then I would overwinter it in a garage, shed, or a cool room with a window.
If you have this growing wild in an area near you, go dig it up and put it in a pot with your other annuals. Save money. Do not buy it! That’s what I do- I hunt for it growing (I do not have to go far) and dig it up and repot it for my containers or those of clients.
Thanks for stopping by. If you ever have a gardening question, feel free to contact me and I will try to help you find the answer.
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