I too like vinca; I have lavender and white plants in my garden. Unfortunately, it is on the New England IPANE list of invasives. I clip it back every so often, or it would cross the river and start in on the other side!
Yes this is listed as an invasive plant. It is not a native plant. It's only use is to look pretty and to provide ground cover. It is not part of the insect food chain and therefore no benefit to our birds who feed on insects. Fewer insects, fewer birds.
I think that this plant is considered invasive in California also. I see it growing in uncultivated open space areas, choking out other low-growing plants. It is battling the ivy in the far corner of my yard.
I'm battling a variegated version that I inherited when I bought the house. It runs rampant here, sucking moisture and nutrients from other wanted plants. Although I'm an organic gardener, I've been sorely tempted to use a chemical to eradicate it once and for all.
Before composting, I let the pulled-up vines sit in the sun for a couple of days to make sure they are really and truly dead - I don't want this to escape into the wild and choke out the native flora.
Next on the list to be eliminated is a non-variegated version covering an enclosed area. I'll replace both of the vincas with mountain spurge or some other native groundcover.
Update: I was still fighting this stuff through the fall of '12, and I'll be fighting it again when spring comes. Please, think twice before planting it at your place!
Make sure you are not confusing Vinca with Wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei). The only way I can tell them apart is by the leaf edge. Wintercreeper has a small sawtooth edge, whereas the Vinca is smooth.
Vinca is not a good climber, but wintercreeper is an expert. If left alone it will kill trees, shrubs and anything else in itís path. Besides creeping, it can reseed by birds and water washing seeds downhill. It is one of the top twenty plants spreading into forests and natural areas and crowding out native species. I believe its cousin, Euonymus alatus (burning bush), is also one of the twenty.
Also beware of English Ivy. It nearly killed a large tree in my yard.
Speaking of invasives: Virginia Creeper (parthenocissus quinquefolia) is a pesky native. When I moved to my condo the tree out back was covered. I cut it at the base and it never came back; however, birds deposit seeds of it and (grrr) oriental bittersweet all over our common land, and it's difficult to keep it all at bay.
Oh,and did I mention groundnuts? They seem to be in the labiatae family., with browny-purple wisteria-like flowers and five leaflets. They are ferocious viners and underground spreaders. Dig them up and you will find rhizomes which (I am informed) are edible and were offered to the first Europeans to settle here.