Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Variegated Greater Periwinkle
Vinca major 'Variegata'

Family: Apocynaceae (a-pos-ih-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Vinca (VIN-kuh) (Info)
Species: major (MAY-jor) (Info)
Cultivar: Variegata
Additional cultivar information: (aka Elegantissima)

4 vendors have this plant for sale.

68 members have or want this plant for trade.


12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

3-6 in. (7-15 cm)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall
Blooms repeatedly


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
From semi-hardwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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There are a total of 24 photos.
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14 positives
5 neutrals
4 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Bronny On Oct 8, 2014, Bronny from Norwood, CO wrote:

I had always treated this plant as an annual and brought some in one fall, it had been in a summer hanging basket, around February it was looking rough and buggy so I left it outside, (I live in SW Colorado at about 7500 ft) to my utter surprise it started growing and got all healthy looking and survived the CO spring, I put it in the ground and have had two of these plants for about 5 years, they don't get too invasive here but they do travel around a bit depending on what kind or seasons we are having, I have also had it grow at 8750 feet where everyone seems to insist on telling me that it won't grow

Negative NJChickadee On May 26, 2012, NJChickadee from Egg Harbor Township, NJ wrote:

I am not going to repead this for ever Vinca, but this is true for all of them: This is one of those alien plants that aggressively overtake and destroy native plants upon which our native wildlife depends. I came close to planting this after finding it at my local Garden Shop, but

Positive dunwawry On Apr 7, 2012, dunwawry from Greensboro, NC
United States wrote:

I'm in the Triad area of NC and planted some vinca major last fall after believe it or not, being frustrated with vinca minor for failing to fill in adequately. Invasiveness has never been a problem, in any case, though I should add, this was in KY bluegrass in Chicago suburbs that I grew minor. Anyways, my neighbor had some major I liked so I thought I'd try it and so far, I'm thrilled with how quickly my major has grown and the flowers are so pretty. At this point it is more leggy than anything but I only bought four small plants on a trial basis, on sale from one of the big box stores, so I didn't expect much. I can easily get plenty of cuttings for the small bed just from what has grown so far. I have it growing in a spot that only gets late afternoon sun so my options were limited, both in exposed areas and under taller plants, and is doing well in both places so far.

Positive suentommy On Sep 7, 2010, suentommy from Souderton, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

I grow this plant along the base of a large raised pond. The sides of the pond are made from rocks that were dug up when our house was built 20 years ago. I have a blue stone patio that faces southwest. The vinca is planted on the eastern side of the pond and has been doing well there since the pond was built. It covers the rocks up to about three feet and flowers in the spring. The vinca softens the rock face of the pond and while I can see where it could become very invasive I have been able to keep it in check because the plant does not grow where there is too much sun. I do find that it wilts in the heat and I have to keep it watered every other day or so to avoid the dried out look but it makes a very pretty ground cover with its variegated foliage and looks pretty in bloom.

Positive 1xanadu On Apr 12, 2010, 1xanadu from Imperial, NE wrote:

Cuttings of this plant came in a florist presentation. I rooted it in water, then planted it in the garden in part shade. It has done well and spread, which I wanted. In winter it dies down to the ground and re-emerges in Spring. A very attractive ground cover.

Positive carle On Mar 10, 2010, carle from Katy, TX wrote:

I grow this in a bed that receives morning sun and afternoon shade. We are in zone 9a in Katy, Tx and have temps 95+ for months in the summer with little rain. This plant is a wonderful groundcover that chokes out weeds. It has beautiful little periwinkle flowers in March-April. I used to have to weed that flower bed constantly, and now this plant has taken care of that problem for me. I love it! It does well in our clay soil. Other plants die in our harsh conditions, but not this one.

Negative nford On Sep 28, 2009, nford from Hot Springs Village, AR (Zone 7b) wrote:

Very invasive. Took over an entire bed, growing over all the other plants despite frequent pulling. Also had to keep it trimmed off the driveway. I uploaded a picture of how it looked after 3-4 years. A few years later, we gave up and pulled it all out. On the plus side, that got rid of it, unlike some other invasive plants which are hard to kill by pulling (e.g.: primrose).

Negative mary_robin On Aug 15, 2009, mary_robin from Montgomery, AL wrote:

I bought my plants this spring '09 from Home Depot, which may have been my first mistake as I have a friend who says plants from there are "souless". Most of them seem to grow rapidly (some remain stunted) but the leaves on almost all the plants at some point or another turn brown on the edges and curl up; it's most unattractive. The plant seems to not like western sun in Montgomery AL (for which I can hardly blame it). Also, I read somewhere that these plants don't care to be watered from overhead!! and the variegated variety is susceptible to crown rot which looks like some sort of gall growing on the plant (and the leaves turning brown, and the plant not getting bigger). I am very close to pulling it all up except in the shade. ANY thoughts you all have would be appreciated.

Positive JaxFlaGardener On Aug 12, 2009, JaxFlaGardener from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

In my climate (borderline Zones 8b/9a), Vinca major 'variegata' is at its best in early spring (February - April). That's when the blue flowers appear and the creeping vines seem most full. It tends to hug closer to the ground and be flatter when warmer weather comes. It will wilt somewhat in hot, dry weather but is drought tolerant and will flush out again when watered.

It grows a bit taller (about 1 ft in arching vines) than I want in most groundcover plants, but it can be used as an underplanting for taller perennials in shade or partial sun or as a stand alone plant to cover problem areas. It spreads by the vines touching the ground and taking root, but the progression is relatively slow in my garden (spread about 5 ft in 6 years).

It is easily propagated by pulling up sections of the rooted runners.

It works great as a trailing plant in hanging baskets or specimen planters.


Neutral swmbo64 On May 28, 2009, swmbo64 from Franklin, WI wrote:

I'm in zone 5a. Have used for 10 years in container plantings ,treating it as an annual. Within the past 5 or so years, it has become a perennial in the shadier, moist garden areas. The past 2 winters, 07-08 and 08-09 were particularly harsh, lots of snow but temperatures dipping into -30's so I'm suprised at the hardiness of this plant.

While I wouldn't say it is as invasive as vinca minor (which can be awfully invasive), the variegated Vinca Major now seems to be coming up, as a hardy groundcover. Clump forming, with a trailing habit.

So far, it seems fairly easy to contain. But, will be on watch out.

Neutral giftgas On Feb 27, 2009, giftgas from Everson, WA (Zone 7b) wrote:

It looks pretty good, but doesn't grow very fast in tough areas. I'd much rather have the invasive "green" version. It snowed pretty good this year, and the plants survived with only minimal leaf scorch; they must have been under the snow for 2 months straight.

I haven't got a single bloom in over 2 years (the plant is grown in part shade).

Neutral Sundownr On Apr 25, 2008, Sundownr from (Bev) Wytheville, VA (Zone 6a) wrote:

The plant is beautiful, hardy, but so invasive if not kept trimmed back in our area of Virginia.

Positive LarissaH On Mar 18, 2008, LarissaH from Denton, TX (Zone 7b) wrote:

My friend and neighbor had the vinca minor version that was terribly invasive and she couldn't get rid of it, even when pulling each plant out by hand.

So, I was hesitant to plant this major version, but the pretty variegated foliage won me out. I only planted 3 and watched them warily over the last year.

This spring, they were the first thing to bloom in my shady garden and those precious little flowers have warmed my heart. They are twice as big as last year, with some rather long runners seeking out new ground. I'm putting more in because I can see how easy it is to cut them down and remove the runners from unwanted areas. You can chop them mercilessly, and they will go on! Meanwhile, I will be able to fill in areas between my ferns, hostas, and cast iron plants and brighten up the shady area with the variegated color.

Positive heathrjoy On Apr 30, 2006, heathrjoy from Weedville, PA (Zone 6a) wrote:

This grows in my rock garden as a perennial w/ a heavy leaf mulch here in zone 5. It dies back to the ground and comes back each spring, that keeps it from becoming invasive here. If you want more plants, use the layering method and be sure to mulch them well before frost. If you don't want any new plants just let the frost hit the vines and you'll never have to bother with them.

Positive Gabrielle On Jan 15, 2006, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

This is perennial in my zone 5a garden, though I have heard that we are now unofficially zone 6. I love it for lighting shady areas. It is easy to pull out of areas I don't want it; it seems easier to control than Vinca minor. Blooms in May in my garden.

Positive MetroGreen On Aug 8, 2004, MetroGreen from Louisville, KY wrote:

The foliage can be eye-catching as a hanging plant too, draped over a porch wall from a pot, or grown from a window box.

Positive garyon On May 17, 2004, garyon from Syracuse, NY wrote:

I have grown this plant for two seasons - last winter was particularly brutal - in zone 5. I did not believe it would be hardy here, but seems to do well in the shady area and stony soil in which it is planted. Does not seem invasive in my garden.

Positive takethyme On Mar 25, 2004, takethyme from Ocala, FL wrote:

Easy growing, once planted it does not require alot of care. I don't have a problem with it being invasive. Handles our 90 degree + humid summers in a shaded area. I have it under a hydrangea and an azalea. Begonias are also in the area and it hasn't taken over.

Positive bazzoni On Jun 29, 2003, bazzoni from Morganville, NJ wrote:

This is my favorite groundcover. Less invasive than ivy or ajuga. Looks good all year. Deer Resistant. Wilts somewhat in full sun with constant temperatures over 90 degrees F. So keep watered during hot dry spells. I heard that vinca has medicinal qualities, lowers blood pressure, etc? But it is also stated that vinca is posionous if eaten? So be careful til you search it out, and check with your doctor. I am going to check with my Extension Service also. I am not a medical authority. But I sure like the way it looks.

Positive Maudie On Apr 1, 2003, Maudie from Harvest, AL wrote:

Makes an excellent groundcover. Will grow under a tree without extra care under normal conditions filling in where few other plants will survive. It is beautiful just for the foliage but very attractive blooming. I highly recommend it for a groundcover.

Negative Kelli On Mar 28, 2003, Kelli from L.A. (Canoga Park), CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

Very invasive and nearly impossible to completely eradicate. Roots wherever the stems touch the ground. Drought tolerant, but doesn't look good in hot weather.

Neutral smiln32 On Aug 3, 2002, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Can be invasive, but can also be easily trimmed back.

Neutral mystic On Aug 18, 2001, mystic from Ewing, KY (Zone 6a) wrote:

Low growing prostrate groundcover, coarser texture than V. minor. Variegated leaves of yellowish white and green. Blue spring flowers. Fast growing given moist soil, part shade. Common florist plant.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Birmingham, Alabama
Jones, Alabama
Montgomery, Alabama
Hot Springs Village, Arkansas
Malvern, Arkansas
Berkeley, California
Concord, California
Forest Falls, California
Pomona, California
San Leandro, California
Clifton, Colorado
Denver, Colorado
Norwood, Colorado
Wilmington, Delaware
Brooksville, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Lake City, Florida (2 reports)
Ocala, Florida
Oldsmar, Florida
Orange Park, Florida
Blackshear, Georgia
Lawrenceville, Georgia
Patterson, Georgia
Stone Mountain, Georgia
Winterville, Georgia
Canton, Illinois
Marshall, Illinois
Springfield, Illinois
Bremen, Indiana
Elwood, Indiana
Newburgh, Indiana
Davenport, Iowa
Ewing, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
Mount Sterling, Kentucky
Prospect, Kentucky
Taylorsville, Kentucky
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Bordelonville, Louisiana
Monroe, Louisiana
Medway, Massachusetts
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Gobles, Michigan
Jackson, Mississippi
Marietta, Mississippi
Waynesboro, Mississippi
Eunice, Missouri
Washington, Missouri
Imperial, Nebraska
Morganville, New Jersey
Himrod, New York
Syracuse, New York
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Greensboro, North Carolina
Hamlet, North Carolina
Kure Beach, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina
Lancaster, Ohio
Enid, Oklahoma
Jay, Oklahoma
Sapulpa, Oklahoma
Stillwater, Oklahoma
Portland, Oregon
Johnsonburg, Pennsylvania
Souderton, Pennsylvania
Laurens, South Carolina
Simpsonville, South Carolina
Travelers Rest, South Carolina
Clarksville, Tennessee
Crossville, Tennessee
Elizabethton, Tennessee
Hendersonville, Tennessee
Lafayette, Tennessee
Middleton, Tennessee
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Rockwood, Tennessee
Westmoreland, Tennessee
Austin, Texas
Colmesneil, Texas
Denton, Texas
Emory, Texas
Houston, Texas
Katy, Texas
Kerrville, Texas
Mont Belvieu, Texas
Plano, Texas
Sour Lake, Texas
Winnsboro, Texas
Radford, Virginia
Reston, Virginia
Roanoke, Virginia
Wytheville, Virginia
Kalama, Washington
Spokane, Washington
Franklin, Wisconsin

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