Growing and Caring for Bigleaf Periwinkle: Tips and Advice


An image showcasing a lush garden with vibrant clusters of Bigleaf Periwinkle, its glossy green leaves cascading over the soil, while delicate purple flowers bloom among them

Bigleaf periwinkle, also known as Vinca major, is a versatile and low-maintenance plant that can be used as a ground cover in various settings. It thrives in well-drained soil, tolerates dappled sunlight to full sun, and is not fussy about soil type. This resilient plant is drought-tolerant and generally resistant to pests and diseases.

However, it can be an aggressive grower, so careful planting is advised. In this article, we will provide practical tips and advice on growing and caring for bigleaf periwinkle to ensure successful cultivation and maintenance.

Sunlight Requirements

Bigleaf periwinkle prefers dappled sunlight but can tolerate full sun. While it can adapt to different light conditions, partial sunlight provides several benefits for this plant.

Dappled shade helps protect the leaves from drying out in hot weather, preventing damage and maintaining overall plant health. To provide dappled shade, you can strategically place the plant under the canopy of taller trees or use shade cloth to filter the sunlight. This allows the plant to receive some direct sunlight while also being shaded for a portion of the day.

Another way to provide dappled shade is by planting the periwinkle near structures or objects that cast light shadows, like trellises or fences. By ensuring the plant receives the right amount of sunlight, you can promote healthy growth and vibrant blooms.

Soil and Watering Needs

To promote healthy growth, gardeners should ensure that the soil is well-drained and slightly acidic, and water the plant only during periods of drought or when it is exposed to full sun.

Here are three important tips for improving soil fertility and preventing overwatering when growing and caring for bigleaf periwinkle:

  1. Soil Enrichment: Bigleaf periwinkle prefers well-drained, slightly acidic soil. If the plant is growing in clay soil and not thriving, try enriching the soil with a mix of peat moss and compost. This will provide the plant with essential nutrients and improve drainage.

  2. Watering Practices: Bigleaf periwinkle does not require extra watering when grown in shade. However, during periods of drought, it may need supplemental watering. It is important to avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot. Water the plant only when the top 1 to 2 inches of soil is dry.

  3. Fertilizing: If the soil in which bigleaf periwinkle is planted is healthy and well-drained, it should not require any additional fertilizer. This low-maintenance plant is resilient and can thrive without excessive fertilization. Focus on maintaining proper soil fertility and moisture levels for optimal growth.

Growing Conditions

Gardeners should ensure that the soil is well-drained and slightly acidic to promote healthy growth of bigleaf periwinkle. This ground cover thrives in a variety of planting locations, making it a versatile choice for gardeners.

Bigleaf periwinkle can be grown in full shade to full sun, although it tends to do best in partial shade. When choosing companion plants, it’s best to plant bigleaf periwinkle on its own without any companions, as it has a tendency to dominate the space. However, Vinca major can be an effective ground cover solution alongside bigleaf periwinkle.

Propagation Methods

Dividing an established clump is the most effective method for propagating bigleaf periwinkle. This method allows you to create new plants from the existing ones, ensuring a healthy and abundant ground cover. Here are three key steps to follow when propagating by division:

  1. Dig up a clump of the plant and gently shake off the soil.
  2. Divide the clump into a couple or several divisions.
  3. Plant the divisions immediately where you want to fill in with the ground cover, spacing them 8 inches apart in small areas or 12 to 18 inches apart for larger areas. Moisten the soil to promote healthy root development.

Alternatively, you can try propagating bigleaf periwinkle through cuttings. Here’s how:

  1. Take cuttings in early fall, snipping a stem that is 4 to 6 inches long.
  2. Root the cutting in a container filled with a potting mix containing peat moss and perlite.
  3. Keep the soil moist by using a mist sprayer and maintaining humidity with a plastic bag. Roots should develop in 2-3 weeks.

Pest and Disease Control

Pests and diseases can pose a threat to the health and growth of bigleaf periwinkle. To protect this plant, it is important to implement natural pest control methods and disease prevention strategies.

One effective way to control pests is by attracting beneficial insects that feed on them, such as ladybugs and lacewings. Planting companion plants like marigolds and basil can also help deter pests.

Regularly inspecting the plants for signs of infestation and taking prompt action, such as handpicking or using organic insecticides, can prevent pest damage.

Disease prevention strategies include providing proper air circulation by spacing the plants appropriately and avoiding overhead watering, as many diseases thrive in moist conditions.

Additionally, practicing good hygiene by removing and disposing of any infected plant parts can help prevent the spread of diseases.

Signs of Excess Moisture

Excess moisture in potted bigleaf periwinkle can be identified by observing signs of damage and can be addressed by reducing watering frequency and eliminating damaged areas.

To prevent overwatering and deal with root rot, here are some practical tips:

  1. Reduce watering frequency: Bigleaf periwinkle prefers well-drained soil, so it’s important to let the top layer of soil dry out before watering again. Overwatering can lead to root rot and other issues.

  2. Eliminate damaged areas: If you notice any signs of damage or rot on the plant, remove those areas promptly. This will help prevent further spread of the problem and allow the plant to recover.

  3. Improve drainage: Ensure that the potted plant has adequate drainage holes to allow excess water to escape. Adding some pebbles or gravel at the bottom of the pot can also help improve drainage.

Using Bigleaf Periwinkle as a Ground Cover

Consider the desired growth area and the aggressive nature of bigleaf periwinkle when using it as a ground cover.

Bigleaf periwinkle, also known as Vinca major, is an excellent choice for landscaping due to its ability to quickly fill large empty spaces. However, its aggressive growth habits must be managed carefully to prevent it from dominating the surrounding plants.

When using bigleaf periwinkle as a ground cover, it is important to plant it in an area where its spreading nature can be controlled. Regular trimming and pruning can help manage its growth and prevent it from spreading too aggressively. Additionally, planting it on its own without companion plants can help prevent competition and allow it to thrive.

Perennial or Annual Growth

In warmer climates, Vinca major grows as a perennial, while in colder regions, it behaves as an annual due to frost. This difference in growth habit has both benefits and drawbacks for gardeners.

Here are three key points to consider:

  1. Perennial Growth Benefits: In warmer climates, Vinca major’s perennial growth allows for a long-lasting ground cover that can provide year-round beauty and stability in the landscape. Once established, it requires minimal maintenance and can tolerate a variety of growing conditions.

  2. Annual Growth Drawbacks: In colder regions, Vinca major’s annual growth can be a drawback. Gardeners may need to replant it each year, which can be time-consuming and costly. Additionally, the loss of the plant during the winter months can leave gaps in the landscape.

  3. Managing Self-Sowing: In colder climates, Vinca major has the ability to self-sow its seeds, allowing it to reappear each year. While this can be beneficial for naturalizing areas, it can also lead to an overabundance of plants if not managed properly. Gardeners in colder climates should be vigilant in removing excess seedlings to prevent overcrowding.

Sunlight Tolerance

Vinca major prefers dappled sunlight, but it can tolerate full sun quite well. When it comes to container gardening, it’s important to consider the sunlight conditions in your garden.

Bigleaf periwinkle is a versatile plant that can adapt to different light levels. If you’re planning to grow it in a container, choose a spot that receives dappled sunlight throughout the day. This will provide the plant with the right amount of light without exposing it to direct sunlight, which can cause the leaves to dry out.

Additionally, if you’re interested in seed harvesting, keep in mind that growing bigleaf periwinkle from seed is possible but it takes longer. You will need to harvest seeds from the seed pods after the blooms fade. Start seeds in the spring before the last frost and transplant the seedlings to containers once they’re 2 inches tall.

Tips for Successful Care and Maintenance

To ensure successful care and maintenance of bigleaf periwinkle, gardeners should regularly monitor and adjust watering levels based on the plant’s moisture needs.

Here are some practical tips for caring for bigleaf periwinkle:

  1. Container gardening: Bigleaf periwinkle is an ideal plant for container gardening. Choose a pot with drainage holes and fill it with well-draining soil. Place the pot in dappled sunlight and water when the top 1 to 2 inches of soil is dry. If the pot is receiving regular rainfall, there’s no need for additional watering.

  2. Seed harvesting: If you want to grow bigleaf periwinkle from seed, harvest the seeds from the seed pods after the blooms fade. Collect the pods, dry the seeds, and store them in a cool, dry place over the winter. Start the seeds in the spring before the last frost, and transplant the seedlings to containers once they’re 2 inches tall.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Bigleaf Periwinkle Be Grown Indoors?

Yes, bigleaf periwinkle can be grown indoors. To cultivate it successfully indoors, provide it with dappled sunlight or bright indirect light, well-drained soil, and water when the top inch of soil is dry.

How Tall Does Bigleaf Periwinkle Typically Grow?

Bigleaf periwinkle typically grows to a height of 6-18 inches. It spreads rapidly, making it an excellent ground cover. It thrives in well-drained soil that is slightly acidic, and can tolerate both dappled sunlight and full sun.

Can Bigleaf Periwinkle Be Grown in Hanging Baskets?

Yes, bigleaf periwinkle can be grown in hanging baskets. It is a versatile plant that can be used as ground cover or in containers. The trailing vines and pretty flowers make it an attractive choice.

Is Bigleaf Periwinkle Deer Resistant?

Bigleaf periwinkle is not deer resistant. While it can be grown in hanging baskets, it may attract garden pests. It’s important to avoid companion planting with other plants as it can dominate the space.

Can Bigleaf Periwinkle Be Used as a Natural Weed Suppressant?

Bigleaf periwinkle can be used as a natural weed suppressant when used as ground cover in landscaping. It is a vigorous grower that can quickly fill empty spaces and outcompete weeds, making it a practical and effective choice.

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