Periwinkle - Vinca major


Vinca, better known as Periwinkle, is a graceful plant much appreciated for its abundant blooms. The Vinca genus belongs to the Apocynaceae family and includes 7 herbaceous, evergreen species; among the species the best known is Vinca major (Periwinkle major), very common in Italy. The name "vinca" derives from the Latin "vincire", which means to tie, due to the stems that are thin and flexible and intertwine in the ground. These plants are native to Europe and the Tropics. The periwinkles they are used as ornamental plants, grown in gardens or in pots; they are usually also used to create hedges and bushes; we can find them very frequently in the undergrowth, where it grows spontaneously. There periwinkle it has a woody stem at the base, creeping or erect; the leaves are smooth and lanceolate of a beautiful bright green; the flowers are single, tubular in shape and with five lobes and are located in the armpit of the upper leaves; the color varies according to the species, usually they are blue - purple (we are talking about periwinkle color).

Environment and exposure

The periwinkle should be kept outdoors in summer and possibly indoors when it's too cold. The most suitable temperature for optimal plant growth is 18 - 21 degrees; it bears the heat quite well if the temperature does not exceed 29 degrees, while in winter it hardly survives at temperatures lower than 15 degrees. The periwinkles they need a lot of light, they should be placed in partially shaded places or even exposed in full sun. They grow well near woody stemmed plants.

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    The watering of the periwinkle must be quite frequent in spring and summer, while they can be suspended, or in any case considerably reduced, during the "veg rest season".


The periwinkle adapts well to any type of soil; for a better growth, however, it is advisable to use a fertile soil, combined with peat and slightly acid; for growing in pots it is better to add shards or other material to the earth to facilitate water drainage, such as placing a layer of about 5 cm of expanded clay on the bottom of the pot to facilitate the drainage of water and prevent the stagnation which would lead to root rot and plant death.

Planting and repotting

The best period for planting is from the end of summer to after the end of winter, trying to avoid periods of severe cold; the plant must be removed from its container and cleaned of excess earth; dig a hole deep enough, it must be about twice the length of the roots, and place the plant there, taking care not to damage it; then the hole is covered with earth, compressed and finally watered abundantly. Repotting should be done every year, in the period from January to March, using larger pots depending on the growth of the plant. It is advisable to use terracotta pots that allow the passage of air.


The periwinkle should be watered abundantly in spring, summer and part of autumn; However, it is necessary to avoid that the soil is too wet and that there are water stagnations, which are harmful to the plant. In late autumn and winter watering should be reduced and it is better to leave the soil only slightly damp.


The periwinkle must be fertilized from spring to autumn, with a liquid fertilizer to be mixed with the irrigation water; the treatment should be repeated every two weeks. In winter it is better not to fertilize. It is important to use a fertilizer that contains nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium; given that the plant has extensive foliage, it is preferable that nitrogen is in greater quantities than the other two substances, because it promotes the growth of the leaves.


The reproduction of the periwinkle usually takes place by cuttings of the vegetative apexes. Vegetative apices of about 10 cm are cut with a clean knife in order to avoid infections to the plant; the lower leaves are eliminated and the cut part is sprinkled with rhizogenic powder, which favors the development of the roots; then the cuttings are placed in a container filled with earth and sand, covered with a plastic sheet and placed in the shade; it is necessary to water in order to keep the earth moist (the degree of humidity must be checked by lifting the plastic), avoiding wetting the leaves. When the first shoots begin to appear, the plastic must be removed and the container placed in a bright place; once the seedlings have grown they will move to their final pot.


Periwinkle needs good pruning, so you will get nice bushes. The plant should be pruned from the base, leaving the stem about 10 cm high. Once the plant has grown, it is good to remove the vegetative apexes, to give it a more compact appearance. All dry and damaged parts must then be eliminated.


The periwinkle blooms, depending on the species, from March to September. The flowers are of different colors; they can be blue - purple or white or pink. The petals are delicate, so it is advisable not to wet them during watering. Generally, the varieties with spring flowering are those with a violet blue flower while the varieties with pink, white and red flowers bloom from summer to autumn. To favor flowering, remember to fertilize the plant constantly from spring to autumn and keep the soil moist, making sure that there is no stagnation of water which leads to root rot.

Diseases and parasites

If the periwinkle does not bloom, it means that the lighting is poor and the fertilizer is not enough; in this case it is necessary to move the plant to a brighter place and adjust the fertilization. If the leaves wither, watering must be increased. The periwinkle can be attacked by parasites such as cochineal, which causes spots to appear on the underside of the leaves; the remedy consists in washing the plant and treating it with specific pesticides. Other damages can be caused by the red spider that makes the leaf take on a gray - yellow color, in this case the leaves that have the parasite must be cleaned, or a specific product can be used.


Before buying the plant it is advisable to check its state of health; it is necessary to check if it has received sufficient water and light and for the presence of any diseases. Plants that have abundant flowering and that do not have dry or damaged parts are preferred. The varieties of vina on the market are numerous, there are those drooping or bushy with green or variegated leaves and in the most varied colors. Remember to also buy a good soil, expanded clay to be placed on the bottom of the pot to avoid stagnation of water and a liquid fertilizer to promote flowering and ensure that the leaves maintain a beautiful green color.


Among the best known species we have: Vinca major (Periwinkle major), very common in Italy, which has dark green oval leaves and blue flowers and blooms from spring to autumn; Vinca minor (Periwinkle minor) which has deep green oval leaves, blue-lilac flowers and blooms from spring to summer; Vinca rosea (or Catharanthus rosea), which has shiny, opposite leaves and pink flowers with a red central part and blooms from spring to autumn; Vinca difformis (or Vinca acutiloba) which has lanceolate leaves, white or lilac flowers and blooms in autumn.


Periwinkle contains a substance called "vincristine" which makes the plant toxic. In the Middle Ages it was used to prepare love filters.

Lesser Periwinkle - Medicinal Uses and Benefits

Botanical Name: Vinca minor.

The closely related species greater periwinkle (Vinca major), a much larger plant, is used in a similar manner in herbal medicine and has the same medicinal properties as lesser periwinkle.

Other Common Names: Common and dwarf periwinkle, vinca, running-myrtle, blue buttons, devil's eye, joy on the ground, sorcerer's violet, periwinkle minor (Spanish), Immergrün (German), petite pervenche (French), gravmyrt (Norwegian), vintergröna ( Swedish), vintergrøn (Danish), pikkutalvio (Finnish).

Habitat: Periwinkle is originally native to Central and Southern Europe, from Denmark to Spain and east to West Asia. Lesser periwinkle was introduced to North America in the 1700s for ornamental purposes.

It is commonly used as an ornamental plant in gardens, parks, and cemeteries, often as a ground cover under trees and bushes.

The plant thrives best in shade or semi shade and it has the tendency to smother out other garden plants if it not kept under control. Periwinkle even grows well in deep shade but then it will produce fewer flowers.

Description: Lesser periwinkle (Vinca minor) belongs to the dogbane family (Apocyanaceae). It is a perennial evergreen viny subshrub, 15-20 cm high. It is creeping but never twining or climbing.

The plant has opposite, elliptic to lance-shaped, shiny dark green leaves that grow up to 5 cm long with a leathery texture.

The 2-3 cm sky-blue and funnel-shaped flowers are produced continuously from May to October. The flowers have two follicles (a dry unilocular fruit formed from one carpel), containing numerous seeds.

There are numerous cultivars of periwinkle each with different flower colors (blue, white, pink, etc.) and variegated foliage.

Plant Parts Used: The leaves or the whole above-ground parts of the lesser periwinkle are used in herbal medicine.

Both the flowering and non-blooming shoots are harvested and dried as quickly as possible at a temperature up to 45 ° C.

The dried plant material can be used for extracts, liquid extracts, powder, and tinctures.

Today, it is mainly the isolated alkaloid vincamine extracted from the plant that is used and then in the form of commercial and standardized preparations.

Perennial hanging / ground cover re-flowering violet / white flower. It does not freeze and does not lose its leaves, place it in a bright or semi-shaded position, if planted on the ground it becomes ground cover if placed in a vase it has a drooping posture. Fertilize and irrigate regularly. It blooms in spring, a little in summer (if it's not too hot) and again in autumn

The Sassi family has been involved in the production and sale of plants and flowers since 1988. In the new Garden of Cella you can find a wide selection of indoor and outdoor plants and flowers, trees, cut flowers, gift ideas, tools for your garden, pots, fertilizers and pesticides.

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How to Prepare Periwinkle Tea? (Vinca Major)

Boil the periwinkle and mistletoe in a pinch of hot water for 10-15 minutes, then drink as it becomes warm. You can also consume and mix sage and periwinkle in the same way. It is especially beneficial for mouth sores.

Note: It should be consumed no more than 3 times a day. It is recommended that breastfeeding mothers do not drink during pregnancy.

It is especially leafy at 35 cm across and grows in Germany. When buying, you should pay attention to characteristics and place where is grown.

You should follow the instructions of the spice-maker for both to benefit more and to achieve your health as soon as possible. You may experience unintended consequences for overuse and misuse.

You should investigate the healing properties of many plants and then decide if they are suitable for you. So you can start treatment quickly and use nature's most beautiful medicinal plants. We learned today how to use and benefits of periwinkle.

Especially if you do not have any allergy or sensitivity to substances in the tea, we recommend that you apply this recipe and find healing.

First of all, in order to live healthy and well, we need to take advantage of naturalness that plants offer us to live healthy and well, and to appreciate what we have at hand.

What are the Types?

Periwinkle has species that grow naturally in Europe, Caucasus, and Turkey. The most known types are as follows

  • Central (Vinca difformis)
  • Herbaceous (Vinca herbacea)
  • Large (Vinca major)
  • Small (Vinca minor)

How to Care for Periwinkle?

Planting of Periwinkle should be done at intervals of approximately 30-45 cm in spring or early autumn. Maintenance is easy. It doesn't want too much effort. It almost surprises you with durability and ambition to live.

It is a perennial and durable flower. Periwinkle is a plant that covers the soil, is resistant to polluted weather and is easy to maintain and produce.

It can be easily cultivated in fields, curbs, ponds, under trees and rocky gardens in urban gardens. It doesn't fall leaves from summer to winter.

It can also grow shade and in winter. It does not choose much soil, but it is beneficial that soil is rich in nutrients. It can be grown as a group in the garden. It releases roots and forms a new plant where releases.

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How to Replicate a Periwinkle?

As we have mentioned before, it is possible to reproduce with elongated roots, as well as seed production to replicate periwinkle, as well as hybrid production.

March is the best time to produce a periwinkle with seed.

The Story of Periwinkle

Let's come to that highly anticipated story. Why such a charming flower can be commemorated with death.

Legend has that periwinkle used to be hung around the neck of death row inmates. For this reason, was associated with executions. How true is unknown, of course?

According to another legend, the Italians put this flower in the infant graves. This flower also referred to as the flower of death, has been a favorite phrase of many songwriters and poets to describe the fatal gaze. It is used to voice deadly beauty.

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Side Effects

German Ministry of Health on 20 July 1987.C. has withdrawn drugs containing periwinkle grass from the market. It has been suggested that disrupts the structure of blood and in turn, reduces the body's resistance to infectious diseases. Therefore, are preferred gingko drugs without side effects (gingkolu drugs).

16 Best Benefits of Periwinkle

  • Appetizing
  • Urine remover
  • Kills germs and heals wounds
  • Expands vessels
  • Strengthens memory and prevents decline
  • Regulates blood pressure
  • Helps to gather attention
  • Calm, calm the nerve
  • Has vascular astringent properties
  • Stops bleeding
  • Reduces blood loss
  • Prevents excessive bleeding during menstruation
  • Strengthens body
  • Helps treat diabetes
  • Therapeutic in brain vein diseases
  • Treats oral wounds

Vinca plants are subshrubs or herbaceous, and have slender trailing stems 1–2 m (3.3–6.6 ft) long but not growing more than 20–70 cm (8–27.5 in) above ground the stems frequently take root where they touch the ground, enabling the plant to spread widely. The leaves are opposite, simple broad laneolate to ovate, 1–9 cm (0.5–3.5 in) long and 0.5–6 cm (0.20–2.36 in) broad they are evergreen in four species, but deciduous in the herbaceous V. herbacea, which dies back to the root system in winter. [7] [8]

The flowers, produced through most of the growing season, are salverform (like those of Phlox), simple, 2.5–7 cm (0.98–2.76 in) broad, with five usually violet (occasionally white) petals joined together at the base to form a tube. The fruit consists of a pair of divergent follicles the dry fruit dehisces along one rupture site to release seeds. [7] [8]

Two of the species, Vinca major and Vinca minor, are extensively cultivated as a flowering evergreen ornamental plant. Because the plants are low and spread quickly, they are often used as groundcover in garden landscapes and container gardens. They are also traditionally used in older cemeteries as an evergreen maintenance-free ground cover. [9] Many cultivars are available, with different plant, leaf, and flower colors, sizes, and habits.

Invasive plant species Edit

Although attractive, both Vinca major and Vinca minor may be invasive in some regions where they are introduced species because the rapid spreading chokes out native plant species and alters habitats. Areas affected include parts of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States, especially coastal California. [10] [11]

The vinca alkaloids include at least 86 alkaloids extracted from plants in the genus Vinca. [12] [13] [14] The chemotherapy agent vincristine is extracted from a closely related species, Catharanthus roseus, [15] [16] [17] and is used to treat some leukemias, [18] lymphomas, [19] and childhood cancers, [20] as well as several other types of cancer and some non-cancerous conditions. Vinblastine is a chemical analogue of vincristine [13] [16] [21] and is also used to treat various forms of cancer. [22] Dimeric alkaloids such as vincristine and vinblastine are produced by the coupling the smaller indole alkaloids vindoline and catharanthine. [13] [23] In addition, the nootropic agent vincamine is derived from Vinca minor. Vinorelbine, a newer semi-synthetic chemotherapeutic agent, is used in the treatment of non-small-cell lung cancer [16] [24] and is prepared either from the natural products leurosine [25] [26] or catharanthine and vindoline, [ 16] [27] in both cases by first preparing anhydrovinblastine. [15] [16] [27]

  1. Vinca difformisPourr. - Azores, western and central Mediterranean
  2. Vinca erectaRegel & Schmalh. - Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan
  3. Vinca herbaceaWaldst. & Kit. - central, eastern and southeastern Europe Middle East
  4. Vinca majorL. - southern Europe, Turkey, Syria, Caucasus introduced to and established in New Zealand, California, British Isles, central Europe, Ukraine, North Africa, south China, Canary Islands, Madeira, North America, [28] Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, [29] Costa Rica, Guatemala
  5. Vinca minorL. - central and southeastern Europe, Ukraine, Caucasus introduced to and established in British Isles, Scandinavia, Portugal, Turkey, south China, North America, [30] New Zealand
  6. Vinca soneriKoyuncu - Turkey
  7. Vinca ispartensisKoyuncu & Ekşi - Turkey [31]

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