Q. Can you tell me more about vinca, and does it lose leaves in winter?
Confusingly enough, two distinct types of plants are commonly known as vinca, or periwinkle. The first is a genus of slender-stemmed, evergreen subshrubs widely used for groundcover and shrub borders. Vinca minor and Vinca major are the most common varieties of this plant.
The second type, summer-flowering vinca, has the botanical name Catharanthus roseus. Its original botanical name was Vinca rosea--hence the confusion.
If your plant is C. roseus, also known as Madagascar periwinkle, it will lose its leaves in fall. If it is V. minor, V. major, or any variety with the botanical name Vinca, green leaves will remain on the plant year-round.
Both types are members of the dogbane family, Apocynaceae, but they thrive in quite different conditions. Catharanthus prefers a sunny, hot environment and blooms all summer until frost. V. minor and V. major are evergreen, low-growing, vining shade plants. They provide a useful ground cover for a woodland garden, shrub border, or shady bank. Vinca's showy, long-stalked, star-like flowers can be blue-violet, pale blue, dark violet, reddish purple or white, depending on the variety selected. Vinca can be invasive.
For tips on a variety of gardening topics, see our Plant Information Guides.
- Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service