Periwinkle plants are one of the most common ground covers in the United States. They grow from the soil all over North America, but they are particularly abundant along rivers and streams. These plants have been known to reach heights of 30 feet or more! Their leaves may be bright green, yellowish brown, pinkish purple or even white with black spots.
The plant is native to Europe and Asia, but it was introduced into the United States in 1883 when settlers brought them back from their travels. By the 1930’s, they were being grown commercially in New Jersey.
Today, they are found throughout much of the southern half of the country. Some varieties have become invasive and now thrive in areas where they once did not exist.
These plants require moist conditions during summer months and dry conditions during winter months to survive. When they do not get enough moisture, they will die.
If they don’t get enough rainfall, they will die. If these plants are allowed to dry out completely, the roots may rot and the whole plant may fall over.
In order to keep periwinkle plants alive year round, it is necessary to provide them with water at regular intervals. This is especially true if you live in a desert area where there isn’t too much precipitation.
Warm temperatures also help these plants survive so they should be planted in areas that get a lot of sunlight.
It is easy to propagate periwinkle plants by using hardwood cuttings. Cut 2-4 inch pieces of wood from the tips of healthy branches and plant them in pots filled with soil.
Keep them in a dark place for two weeks so the cut can callous over and then place them in a sunny location. They should begin to sprout roots in about a month. If they begin growing leaves, then they are healthy and ready to plant into your yard.
Periwinkle plants have been known to produce green flowers and small black berries. The berries are edible and have a sour taste.
Farm animals sometimes eat these plants when no other grasses or plants are available. Metallic beetles also use the plant for food and the woody stems provide nesting sites for many types of insects and small mammals.
While periwinkle plants do not provide any type of nutrition for humans, they do have ornamental value. Many people like their glossy leaves and interesting flower shapes.
They can be easily transplanted into flower beds, rock gardens or even along walkways. They are also useful for preventing soil erosion in areas with a lot of foot traffic.
The roots of the periwinkle plant can grow very long and extensive underground. This makes them very difficult to remove.
One way to get rid of them is to use a shovel or spade and cut off the roots 2-3 inches below the surface of the ground. New plants will then regrow from what remains so you must dig them up again later.
If you do not want to spend the time digging up every plant, it may be easier to cover the area with an impermeable material such as thick concrete or several layers of plywood. This will prevent any sunlight from reaching the area which will prevent any plants from growing there in the future.
When periwinkle plants begin growing in your yard or on your property, they can be very difficult to get rid of. These are only a few of many methods that can be used to keep them under control.
Whether you want to keep them out completely or just remove the ones that have already taken hold, you should find a method that suits your needs and lifestyle.
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