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It seems like every garden has that tricky dark corner where no grass will grow and where perennials fizzle out. Enter periwinkle. This tough-as-nails shade lover seems to look more and more lush, year after year, without needing much care. With its vigorous sprawling habit, periwinkle can easily colonize any area. In some places, that can be a problem. In more harsh northern climates, periwinkle is not quite invasive, but in places like California with mild climates, these plants can quickly take over a garden. No matter where you are, it's best to stay on top of them to keep them in bounds.


As periwinkle grows, it has a knack for laying down roots wherever its stems come in contact with soil. This makes them a great option for preventing weeds from growing between their dense mats of foliage. However, it also means these plants can spread indefinitely. As long as you catch them early, they are easy enough to pull up as they spread, and they certainly don't mind a good haircut every now and then. Cutting the plants back also encourages new growth, which is much brighter and shinier than the old leaves and is a nice spot of color in dark areas. Periwinkle works well as a rock garden plant, too!

Periwinkle (Perennial)

  • Overall, these plants are pretty tough and grow in almost any situation, but ideally, soil conditions are humus-rich and evenly moist. They'll grow just fine in poor soil that dries out a bit, too, but maybe not as vigorously. These plants prefer dappled sun, but they'll take what they can get and grow in anything from full sun to full shade.

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