With violet-blue blossoms scattered like stars across a field of emerald green, Dwarf Periwinkle is a popular groundcover in the Pikes Peak region. Also available in white and purple-red, these 5-petaled pinwheel-shaped flowers bring welcome color to a shady spot. The shiny leaves are arranged along stems that may reach three feet in length, but the plants are only six inches high. (Another species, V. major, gets much larger.) The stems will root wherever they touch the ground.
Dwarf Periwinkle requires partial to full shade; the leaves develop chlorosis (yellowing due to an iron deficiency) and the plant declines in full sun. It does best in fertile, well-drained loam, but will tolerate less-than-optimal conditions. While preferring damp soil, established plantings will endure some drought. Allowing the foliage and soil surface to dry between waterings helps prevent Vinca Stem Blight, a fungal disease brought on by constantly wet conditions.
Because it competes successfully with tree roots, Periwinkle is frequently used as an evergreen groundcover under woody plants. The trailing stems are also attractive spilling over the sides of flowering containers.