Ode to the Vinca Vine

I'll admit it.  There are some (only a few) plant species that I reject for my garden.  Some are too big, too delicate, too needy, too whatever.  Then there are others that are eschewed by many "experienced" gardeners as not interesting, not special enough, or too ordinary.  Vinca vine is one of the latter that I've heard condemned in this fashion by fellow gardeners.

Also known as myrtle, vinca can present a somewhat unruly or straggly appearance.  In the "wrong place" (I have one or two of those), vinca can be a real annoyance. But, in the right location and with the right conditions, vinca can provide a lovely foundation for other plantings, tying them all together in one harmonious palette of light and dark, texture and color.

In the BLG, vinca is the lush foundation from which hellebores, heuchera, hosta and ferns emerge.  Mid to late spring is a time of delicate beauty in the shade garden, with a blanket of delicate lavender colored vinca blooms complimenting the soft pink of bleeding hearts and yellow bells of uvularia.  Here, vinca presents a continuous and ever expanding palette of deep, shiny green to complement the ever changing shades of foliage and flower throughout the season. 

Vinca vine in bloom in early Spring

In late April and early May, the shade garden has much to offer while the sunny beds are still waking up!


Vinca vine ground cover in mid September provides a nice contrast to Empress Wu hosta

By the end of summer and early fall, vinca keeps up appearances and ties other shade loving herbaceous plants together in this garden bed.

Late season vinca vine canvas for herbaceous perennials, including this American Spikenard (Aralia racemosa)