Flowers

Periwinkle


Generalitа


It was Jean's favorite flower
Jacques Rosseau. It grows spontaneously almost throughout Europe. Among the Celts, periwinkle was particularly dear to sorcerers,
who used it to make potions and infusions. In some countries, its flowers were scattered in front of the spouses as an auspicious gesture; in other regions, its branches were crossed
to make a crown out of the tombs.
The symbolic value of periwinkle is related to memory; give one periwinkle expresses the desire to leave and keep a sweet memory.

Periwinkle


The periwinkle is a ground cover plant very common in the spontaneous state, especially in the hilly or wooded areas, near the woods. It spreads very easily managing to create beautiful carpets with its evergreen leaves; in spring, then there are countless lilac-blue ones, giving beauty even to shady areas. They originate from all over Europe, central Asia and northern Africa.
In the garden it is an excellent ground cover, luxuriant and decorative, although it needs frequent checks, given the marked invasiveness. It can be attempted to cultivate it in pots, accompanying it to other essences (especially shrubs, because the herbaceous plants would be suffocated) and enhancing its bearing that hangs in balconies or hanging baskets.













































































THE PERVINCA IN BRIEF
Family, genus, species Apocynaceae, Vinca
Type of plant Evergreen ground cover shrub
Height at maturity From 15 to 45 cm
Width at maturity About 50 cm
Flowers Blue, lilac, purple, magenta, white, pink
density 2 m2
Maintenance low
Ground Forest, light and rich
Exposure Forest, light and rich
irrigations Frequent in the summer
Rusticitа high

Environmental humidity
average
Growth fast
Propagation Division, cutting
Composting Spring, liquid or granular products
Soil moisture Always fresh
soil pH subacido
Use Ground cover, hanging in vases

Classification and origins of Pervinca



The genus Vinca belongs to the Apocynaceae family and includes about 12 species. Only three cultivated species can be found spontaneously in our country: V. major, V. minor and V. difformis. The first two are common in northern Italy, the last being mostly widespread in the southern regions. They are all very similar: they are creeping evergreen perennials with small oval and leathery leaves. From the leaf axils in spring spring buds composed of five petals, which go to form a flower similar to a star or a pinwheel.
Vinca herbacea comes from Eastern Europe, an interesting annual suitable for shady locations.

Periwinkling planting


The best time to plant is spring (where winters are harsh) or autumn.
It is not difficult to obtain, from nurseries, seedlings of the most widespread cultivars. We create a hole at least as big as our pot, insert the seedling trying not to disturb the root system too much. We compact well and irrigate abundantly. We always leave at least 50 cm of space between one specimen and another (or another plant). Its expansion, if well positioned, will in fact be very fast.

Where to place the Periwinkle



The vinca prefers sheltered exposures: in almost all of Italy it is preferable to insert it from half-shade to light shade. The ideal is beneath broad-leaved trees. Only in the alpine areas can it grow and thrive in full sun: elsewhere heat and excessive light can cause desiccation and the appearance of parasites (especially in dark green leafed species).

Pervinca land


The ideal substrate is the woodland one. We therefore try to offer a light soil, deriving from the decomposition of organic material, from subacid to acid pH. If on the contrary our soil was very compact it would be good to extract it and mix it for at least 50% with universal soil and a few handfuls of sand.
The same mix can be used for seedlings inserted in pots, adding a bit of mature flour manure. In this case it will be important to create a thick drainage layer based on expanded clay or small gravel on the bottom.




























Periwinkle watering


If well positioned, it requires work only in the warm season in the open ground. In any case, let us regularly agree that the soil is fresh in depth and if necessary distribute plenty of water. In the Center-South, during the summer, it may be necessary to vaporize the leaves and all the surrounding area from time to time in order to keep the humidity high and prevent any drying out and leaf burns.
The cultivation in pots instead, in this aspect, is much more delicate. With the arrival of the warm season it may be necessary to water daily. Of great help can be mulching the soil with sphagnum or moss that will help us keep the environment fresher.

Periwinkle fertilization



They are rather autonomous plants: they grow vigorously even without a further supply of nutrients. To encourage flowering it is useful to administer liquid fertilizer in which potassium predominates at the end of the winter, every two weeks. Excellent support can also come from slow release granular products: a single spring application is generally more than sufficient.
In pot we can act similarly, but a good strategy can be the extreme dilution of liquid fertilizer, to be used then during each irrigation.
In autumn, to keep the soil soft, airy and vital, it is useful to spread a good quantity of well-seasoned flour manure mixed with mulch based on leaves, straw and other organic material.

Periwinkle diseases and pests


The periwinkles they are very resistant and, without exposure and extremely unfavorable terrain, they do not have large natural enemies. They are famous for their quickly becoming invasive.
The major drawbacks may derive from too sunny and hot exposure. This can cause general suffering with drying of the branches and leaves. In addition, different types of pests such as red spider mite or caterpillars or cryptogams such as rust may appear in that case. In that case we eliminate the whole jet, we shade more, we increase the frequency of irrigation and we often vaporize the foliage. However, it is really rare that these problems are fatal to the plant: as soon as the temperatures return to fresh we will see new shoots appear. However, we keep in mind that the flowering occurs mostly on the branches issued the previous year: it is therefore possible that the spring flowering is then scarce.

Pests and periwinkle diseases



Periwinkles are very resistant and, unless exposed to extremely unfavorable terrain and exposure, they do not have large natural enemies. They are famous for their quickly becoming invasive.
The major drawbacks may derive from too sunny and hot exposure. This can cause general suffering with drying of the branches and leaves. In addition, different types of pests such as red spider mite or caterpillars or cryptogams such as rust may appear in that case. In that case we eliminate the whole jet, we shade more, we increase the frequency of irrigation and we often vaporize the foliage. However, it is really rare that these problems are fatal to the plant: as soon as the temperatures return to fresh we will see new shoots appear. However, we keep in mind that the flowering occurs mostly on the branches issued the previous year: it is therefore possible that the spring flowering is then scarce.

How to multiply the periwinkle


The periwinkle spreads very easily in an autonomous way: in fact it produces long branches that are inserted under the ground and emit new roots at the level of the leaf axils. To obtain a new map it is sufficient to remove that segment by cutting upstream, and transplanting elsewhere.
One can however also try the cutting, which is very often both on the ground and in the water. The ideal is to take partially lignified segments in the months of August and September.

How to combine Vinca


It can be used in all shady areas where it is necessary to cover the ground in all seasons, using a vigorous and resistant evergreen. It is suitable for the natural garden or for romantic inspiration. It can satisfactorily cover the foot of deciduous trees. Find good pairings with the ajuga reptans, the convallaria majalis, the ferns, the lamium and the Waldesteinia: but they are always kept a little distant to prevent them from being suffocated by the exuberance of the vinca.


Periwinkle Invasive plant



If we decide to introduce it into our garden we must think that it will be a subject to be kept constantly at bay. If its spread can create problems for us, we choose horticultural varieties (especially the variegated ones): they usually turn out to be less vigorous and easier to control. It is also important to monitor the area dedicated to them at least every 15 days in order to extract immediately the stoloniferous branches produced in abundance. In this regard we avoid throwing them into non-cultivated areas, where they could root and spread freely (in some areas of the United States they have been banned!): Let's put them in green bins or burn them directly.


Variety of Periwinkle


Here are the most interesting varieties and cultivars.
Vinca Major It is the largest, it can reach 45 cm in height. In addition to the species, we can find:
- Aureomaculata the leaves have a central yellow spot, more evident if cultivated in areas well exposed to light.
- Oxyloba with bright purple flowers and very narrow petals
- reticulated the leaves have obvious cream-yellow veins
- Variegata also known as very elegant, it has leaves with a white margin. Very decorative even in the absence of flowers. The corollas are almost blue and match perfectly with the foliage.
- Wojo's Jem dark green leaves with a central white and green spot.
- Surrey Marble large dark green leaves and central yellow spot
Vinca Minor similar to the previous one, but with smaller leaves and a little more invasive. Its maximum height is 20 cm. Here are the most widespread cultivars:
- Sunrise with white flowers that open from pink buds
- Dawn “Gertrude Jekyll” compact, has small dark green leaves and white flowers
- 'variegated dawn' white flowers and cream margined leaves
- 'Argenteovariegata' light blue flowers and leaves with white margins
- 'Atropurpurea' purple-red flowers
- 'Aureovariegata' the young leaves have a bright yellow margin
- 'azurea flore pleno' the corollas are double light blue
- 'Blue and Gold' leaves with golden margin and blue-violet flowers
- 'Sabinka' very compact, small leaves and purple-blue flowers
- 'Mrs. Betty James' dark green foliage, double purple flowers
There vinca difformis it is slightly more upright than the others and is slightly more sensitive to low temperatures. Recommended for central-southern regions. The most widespread cultivars are
- Greystone form with large white flowers and dark contrasting leaves
- Jenny Pym pinkish petals, lighter in the central part
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THE PERVINCA IN BRIEF
Planting Spring autumn
Picking of rooted portions From spring to autumn
Flowering From May to September
Irrigation In summer
Composting spring
cutting August September