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Periwinkles are wonderful summer plants, but many gardeners become discouraged when they see their plants shrivel up and die. Many gardeners decide that periwinkles are "difficult" plants to grow, but the problem is generally caused by planting too early in the season.

Periwinkles are susceptible to a disease called Phytophthora. This disease flourishes under early spring rains and cool nights. To control this problem, wait until late spring to plant and avoid planting them in the same bed for at least a year, especially if the plants have shown signs of disease the previous season.

These plants come in a variety of colors and thrive in our East Texas heat. If you had problems in the past, be sure to give them another try in your garden this summer. You will be glad you did.

Celeste Plunkett, Smith County Master Gardener
Texas AgriLife Extension Service


Periwinkles (Vinca) are one of the easiest-to-grow flowers in our area. They are available with a white blossom or a soft pinkish-purple flower. They stand ten inches tall and have lots of small leaves.

If you have a sunny spot that almost needs a ground cover but you want some color, periwinkle should be your choice. These flowers spread very quickly and leave no question in your mind when they are thirsty. Their leaves begin to wilt, and even their stems will start to droop. After a quick spray with the hose or watering can, they perk back up in minutes and look beautiful.

Periwinkles can be started from seed or purchased in individual pots or flats. Each plant can be set four to six inches apart and will fill in solid within a few weeks.

Periwinkles are annuals and must be replanted every year. They do produce lots of tiny seeds as they mature, so they reseed themselves or you can collect the seeds for next year. Also, because they are so prolific in their reseeding, you may have more periwinkles than you desire.

Connie Farrar, Smith County Master Gardener
Texas AgriLife Extension Service

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