What does a periwinkle plant look like, tips for growing in the open field, breeding, combating possible diseases and pests, facts to note, species and varieties. Periwinkle (Vinca) is a plant belonging to the Apocynaceae family. If you refer to the data provided by the site of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, this genus combines only four varieties. In natural conditions, they can most often be found in Europe, in the north of the African continent and in southeast Asia. All two types of them are actively used in horticulture.
|Growth features||Shrub with creeping shoots, herbaceous|
|Reproduction||Vegetative (cuttings or division of the rhizome), occasionally seed|
|Landing period in open ground||Rooted cuttings, planted in early spring or August|
|Disembarkation scheme||15-30 cm between cuttings, 20-30 cm between cuttings|
|Substrate||Any nutritious, moist soil|
|Illumination||Light spot or shade|
|Moisture indicators||Drought-resistant, but too open and hot place needs moisture|
|Plant height||Up to 1 m|
|Color of flowers||Blue, blue-violet, light blue, white, pink or lilac|
|Type of flowers, inflorescences||Solitary|
|Flowering time||April June|
|Place of application||Borders, rabatki, rock garden, rockeries|
|USDA zone||4, 5, 6|
The plant bears its name in Latin thanks to the translation of the word "vinca", which means "twine", "weaving" or "curling". This is due to the fact that shoots spread along the ground and can survive under the snow or in the heat. The name in the Slavic language goes back to the Ukrainian words "barva" and "vinok", which have the translation "paint" and "wreath", which gives the phrase "beautiful wreath". This is all due to the fact that Ukrainian girls had the custom of weaving periwinkle flowers into their wreaths, thereby symbolizing unfading life, as well as mutual love. Since the plant is usually planted on graves, the people call it "the violet of the dead." In the French lands, periwinkle is called "Rousseau's flower" because their world-famous countryman, philosopher and romantic writer Jean-Jacques Rousseau loved this plant most of all.
All periwinkles are perennials that take the form of creeping dwarf shrubs or grasses. In the latter case, the shoots of the plant are erect, usually covered with flowers. When in contact with the soil, the branches easily root in it, releasing root shoots from any node. Shoots can be up to a meter long. These plants retain their foliage or lose it in the autumn-winter period. The leaves are arranged on the branches in an opposite order. Their surface is leathery, outlines in the form of an ellipse. The color of the leaves is dark green or greenish. It happens that the foliage is decorated with specks or a kayomka of cream color. The leaf reaches 4–8 cm in length, its shape is oblong-lanceolate. Each leaf has a short petiole.
Naturally, all the beauty of the periwinkle lies in its flowers. The flowering process occurs mainly in the spring (April, May or early June), but during the entire growing season, single buds may appear. The flowers are crowned with elongated pedicels that rise above the green carpet of leaves. The buds are rather large in size, originating from their leaf sinuses.Usually the color of the petals is blue, blue-violet or blue, but there are plants with white, pinkish or lilac flowers.
The calyx is small and has a division into five lobes. They have narrowed outlines, with a pointed tip at the top. At the base or slightly higher, there is a pair of miniature denticles. The shape of the corolla is funnel-shaped, the apex of the petals is pointed. Inside the corolla there are five stamens, with bent thickened filaments, which are attached to the central part of the corolla tube. Anthers are shortened, with splitting.
When the fruits ripen, two pairs of leaflets with cylindrical outlines are formed. Seeds are numerous, without crests, cylindrical in shape.
Since periwinkle is able to cover the soil surface with its shoots, like a carpet, it is used as a ground cover crop, decorating rabatki and rockeries, alpine hills. It is often planted in cemeteries. If you cut off the branches of a plant with flowers and put them in a cool room, you will be able to admire them for another 14–20 days.
Tips for growing periwinkle - planting and care outdoors
- Landing place it is better to pick it up in a sunny area, but the plant will be comfortable in the shade of trees or walls. If it is necessary to "hide" the unsightly parts of the summer cottage, then periwinkle is perfect for this. A hot place and bright sun rays can damage the "beautiful wreath" and then it is necessary to carry out frequent watering. Only in the openwork penumbra of tree crowns, all its beauty is revealed.
- Planting periwinkle seedlings outdoors in March or August.
- Priming. This ground cover will grow well on any soil, even sandy ones. But if the composition is heavy, then the growth activity will greatly decrease. It is still better to use garden soil mixed with compost or humus, and for looseness with river sand. It is important that the soil is rich in organic matter, and lime is present in it. Acidity values are recommended neutral (pH 6, 5-7) or slightly acidic (pH 5-6).
- Watering. The plant is characterized by increased drought resistance, so if the soil is moistened only once a week, then this will be enough. Periwinkle may have enough natural precipitation. If your region is sultry and the location is southern, then you can water such ground covers more often, then they will thank you not only with wild growth, but also with abundant flowering.
- General tips for caring for periwinkle. Since the plant has the ability to grow rapidly and during just one season of its "possession" can cover up to 7 square meters. m., then vigilance will not hurt here. You can install curbs or fences around so that the growth does not drown out neighboring flowers on the site. When forming a thicker cover of the shoots, you can periodically pinch young and old shoots. Weed grass is not a hindrance to planting periwinkle, but then the plants lose their decorative effect, therefore, after watering or precipitation, weeds can be removed and the soil loosened. Since the plant is considered a ground cover, it will be able to endure even a little trampling.
- Fertilizers for periwinkle. "Violet of the Dead" gets basically all the nutrients from the soil that was prepared during planting (compost and humus are mixed into it). However, flower growers noticed that periwinkle shows even greater growth and flowering when urea is added to the soil per 1 sq. m. about 30-40 grams of the drug. You can also add peat compost, which will promote flowering - the frequency of applying twice a season (in the spring and at the end of September). At the same time, it is important to remember that when dying, the foliage and branches of the periwinkle will serve as a natural organic fertilizer, which is so necessary for young shoots.
- Wintering. The periwinkle grass is cold-resistant, but in snowless winters, even adult bushes can die from drying out.All this is due to the fact that evergreen foliage continues to evaporate moisture from its surface, and the root system cannot extract water from frozen soil. Most often, it is recommended to carry out a shelter for the winter planting of such a ground cover with fallen dry leaves or spruce branches.
- The use of periwinkle in landscape design. As it is already clear that because of the creeping shoots, the "Russo flower" is perfect as a ground cover, but it can be used to decorate the borders separating flower beds and paths. Planting plantings of shrubbery plants. Due to the shoots, which are rather elongated, such flowers are used as an ampelous pot culture, which is planted in hanging baskets.
Reproduction of periwinkle
Although the plant can be propagated by seeds, most often cuttings are used, separation of an overgrown bush or rooting of cuttings.
With the arrival of spring (March), it is recommended to divide the periwinkle bush while its shoots have not yet begun to grow, or in the period from late summer to early September. It is required to dig up the mother bush and cut it into pieces. The distance between the plots is 15–30 cm. Before planting, the soil is fertilized with a composition of 10 kg per 1 m2, consisting of humus, leafy soil and compost. It is recommended to water young periwinkles frequently, but the bay is prohibited here. The first 2-3 winters need to cover such seedlings with dry foliage or spruce branches.
In August or early spring, periwinkle propagation can be carried out using stem cuttings. Each workpiece must have at least two internodes. The cuttings are planted in the ground so that the lower pair of leaves almost touches the substrate. Leave 20-30 cm between the cuttings. If the variety is evergreen, then propagation can be carried out using layering. A healthy shoot is chosen, pressed to the surface of the soil and sprinkled with a layer of soil. The branches begin to quickly release roots and grow into the soil. After that, such shoots are separated and disembarked at a prepared place.
You can try seed propagation. Seeds are sown in spring or before winter. Sometimes flower growers sow planting material on summer days, but they should be cloudy and rainy. Prepares the soil before sowing: loosen, add humus or compost. For the seeds, a groove is prepared in depth equal to 1 cm. The seeds are embedded in the furrow and watered abundantly.
Fight against possible diseases and pests of periwinkle
The plant is quite resistant and is rarely attacked by harmful insects or diseases, but if the growing conditions are violated, troubles can happen. If symptoms of pests are detected, periwinkle plantings are treated with insecticidal preparations, among which Karbofos, Fufanon, Aktaru or Aktellik can be distinguished.
If we talk about diseases, then plantings can be affected by powdery mildew or rust, which occur with high humidity. Here, fungicides are used to fight. Florists can choose the following remedies suitable for curing powdery mildew: Topaz, Skor or Topsin and Quadris, or with a similar spectrum of action. Rust will help to overcome drugs like Bordeaux liquid, Topaz or Cuproxat.
Facts to note about the periwinkle flower
Since the periwinkle foliage is quite durable and is distinguished by its vitality, while being even under a snow cover, the plant is popularly considered a symbol of vitality and strength. When planting this ground cover in cemeteries, people use vinca as a symbol of good memory of the deceased and eternal love for him.
It is noticed that if there is a bouquet in a vase containing a periwinkle and when all the flowers have already wilted, but only a drop of moisture remains in the container, then this plant will not fade. And even after that, when the branch is planted, it will quickly release the roots.Since the herb of periwinkle in its parts contains a large amount of active substances, alkaloids, cardiac glycosides, its properties have long been familiar to folk healers, since it was used for diarrhea and bleeding, treated consumption and scurvy. Decoctions helped fight cancer and toothache, and also eliminated atrial fibrillation. But this list is far from complete, since the "beautiful wreath" has a lot of properties and has been used for a long time to get rid of a lot of diseases.
Do not forget about the many legends and customs that the periwinkle is shrouded in. Only the most common ones can be named. So at the Ukrainian wedding, the bride and groom were dressed with wreaths of periwinkle on their heads and showered with petals of this plant. His flowers served as a talisman against sorcerers and evil forces. And the Alpines, hanging bouquets of the "Rousseau flower" in front of their homes, protected the house from lightning.
Types and varieties of periwinkle
Lesser periwinkle (Vinca minor) is the most common variety. Territories of natural distribution fall on the Mediterranean lands, Asia Minor and the southern regions of the European part of Russia. Perennial with creeping branches, very shade-tolerant, grows in forests with pine and broad-leaved trees, with nutritious soils. Although it is found on rich sandy loam and slopes of rubble and stones. The stem is branchy and reaches 0.6 m. Solid leaf plates with a leathery glossy surface, they themselves are oblong and elliptical. Leaves are attached to the shoots with elongated petioles. The length of the leaf reaches 3-5 cm. The color is dark green, not changing even in winter.
Flowers bloom in April-May or June. In diameter, they reach 3 cm, the shape of the corolla is funnel-shaped. Flowers grow singly. The color of the petals is blue. Peduncles can stretch up to 20 cm in height. Flowering lasts almost 30 days. The fruits are leaflets with five leaves.
The most popular varieties of periwinkle are:
- Alba and Gertrude Jekyll in which the flowers were painted with white color;
- Bowles Variety and La Grave the size of the flowers is large, the petals are blue;
- Rubra flowers with a purple tint;
- Azurea Flore Pleno, Multiplex and Rubra Pleno have a double flower shape;
- Argenteovariеgata sheet plates with a creamy whitish color scheme;
- Gruner teppich foliage is thick and light green in color.
Large periwinkle (Vinca major). The native growing area is the Mediterranean and Crimean lands, the Caucasus. Groundcover perennial with evergreen foliage. The shoots of the plant can take root anywhere by touching the soil, forming a green carpet. The leaf plates of this type are ovoid, with a bare leathery and shiny surface, along the edge there is a border in the form of cilia. The foliage is dark green. The length of the leaf varies from 4 to 8 cm. During flowering, the flower-bearing stems are crowned with single buds. Opening, they reach a diameter of 5 cm. The length of the peduncles is almost 40 cm. The petals have a special shade of blue color, which the French call pervance. The plant itself can bear the same name in France. The flowering process begins in late spring and can last up to a month.
There are garden forms of periwinkle large:
- Variеgata, in which the foliage has a variegated color of white and yellow shades, a creamy white border is often present, however, these plants have less cold resistance than the base look;
- Maculata the owner of leaves with a spot of gold tone in the central part.
Herb periwinkle (Vinca herbacea). It occurs naturally on the territory of Asia Minor, as well as on the lands of Central Europe, the Caucasus and Crimea; it can grow in Ukraine and in the southern regions of the European part of Russia. Shoots of a vegetative type in a shrub grow creeping. They are covered with elliptical leaves. In the winter, the foliage falls off. The flowering stems are 15 cm in height.They are crowned with single flowers, which open up to 3 cm in diameter.The color of the petals is blue or purple. Corolla of a flower with narrow lobes. The flowering process takes time from late May to early June.
Video about periwinkle:
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