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Vinca minor

Vinca less origins and characteristics

It is part of the apocynaceae family, it is native to Europe and tropical areas and is called vinca minor or minor: today it is known above all by the name of periwinkle, a term that derives from the Latin vincire and which indicates the ability of its stems to cling to the earth. It is a herbaceous plant and grows spontaneously in the undergrowth, covering the land: each plant can expand in width up to one meter, while the height usually never exceeds thirty centimeters. The vinca leaves are oval, not too large and pointed, of a bright green color; the flowers, on the other hand, are small and of a very particular color, a blue-violet shade that has given its name to a shade, periwinkle blue. Each flower has five lobes with an apex in the center;

Cultivation


You do not need in-depth knowledge of gardening to be able to grow a beautiful specimen of vinca minor in your garden. Just know that this is a plant that needs light and air in all seasons: in summer the temperature should not exceed 29 degrees, while in winter it should not go below 16 degrees. If it is grown in pots, a very common practice, in summer it is better to move it to a sunny area, so as to make it develop well: the light, combined with the right amount of water, will guarantee a beautiful and lasting flowering. Usually the vinca is considered an annual plant but in reality, if moved indoors or in a greenhouse, it can easily survive the winter, as long as it still receives a little light. The best time to plant this plant is between September and March.

Care and maintenance


The vinca minor should always be grown in full sun or at most partial shade: the soil must be well drained, slightly acidic but also fertile. The best way to prepare it is to make a mixture of leaves, earth and peat. If you grow it in pots, you need to put shards on the bottom to avoid water stagnation and always remember to change pots once a year, at the end of winter, choosing a slightly larger pot each time. From early spring to early autumn, vinca minorit should be watered regularly, while in winter the irrigation must become more sporadic. In the vegetative period, i.e. the summer rest period, fertilizer must be administered every two weeks, choosing a product rich in nitrogen and phosphorus, but also in iron and copper, all elements that contribute to making it grow luxuriantly.

Pruning


Vinca minor is a creeping or ground cover plant, therefore it tends to expand quite a lot, forming a real carpet of grass and beautiful flowers. At the end of flowering, it must be pruned, eliminating the damaged or dry parts and shortening all the stems until they remain about 10 centimeters long. If the periwinkle is grown in hanging pots or baskets, it is better to prune it by cutting only the tips of the stems; before proceeding with pruning you must always make sure you use disinfected tools, otherwise you risk spreading fungal infections on the plant. Vinca is often the victim of scale insects, which create yellow spots on the leaves, or mites, which deform the leaves instead. In both cases it is advisable to use specific products to solve the problem definitively.

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