Vinca minor characteristics
The Vinca minor flower, native to Europe and the Tropics, is commonly known as Pervinca. Its name derives from the Latin vincire ie tie because the stems intertwine in the earth. The herbaceous plant, characteristic of the undergrowth, is part of the botanical family of the Apocynaceae. Its height is 10-30 cm, the width reaches one meter, it has a creeping habit and forms popular lawns. The leaves are oval and lanceolate, of an intense and glossy green color. The flowers, 2 cm wide, are of a particular shade of blue-violet called periwinkle blue, with a 5-lobed corolla with an apex that has a sort of oblique cut. There are also varieties with white, bluish, purple and wine red flowers. The plant flowers from spring on and continues throughout the summer.
Cultivation: ideal temperature
The cultivation techniques of this species are simple. The plant needs great brightness and air, both in summer and winter. In summer the ideal temperature fluctuates between 21 degrees and 29 while in winter it is preferable to keep it at 16-18 ° C. Below 15 degrees the plant begins to have problems. In summer it is advisable to keep the plant outside in full sun. Together with an adequate level of humidity, this will ensure a generous flowering. Vinca is generally treated as an annual plant, ie to be eliminated in autumn, however if, in winter, it is kept indoors, exposed to sufficient light, it can survive very well. The periwinkle is planted in the months between September and March, on well-drained soil and in a sunny or partially shaded place.
Soil, water and fertilization
The Vinca substrate must be fertile, well drained and have a slightly acid reaction. It will consist of leaf mold, woodland and peat. On the bottom of the container jar, preferably in terracotta, it is advisable to place small pieces of earthenware to avoid water stagnation. Repotting takes place once a year between January and March in pots of ever slightly larger diameter. The plant must be watered a lot from the spring and mid-autumn seasons. in full autumn and winter season you need to water just enough to keep the soil moist. In the vegetative period, from spring to autumn, the plant must be fertilized every 15 days. In the rest of the year, however, fertilization must be stopped. The fertilizer must be rich in nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. Pervinca also needs microelements such as iron, zinc and copper.
Pruning and diseases
At the end of flowering, the plant requires adequate pruning, consisting in keeping the stems 10 cm high from the ground. For plants grown in suspended basket, however, we recommend topping, that is, cutting the vegetative tips. In any case it is essential that the tools used are perfectly clean and also sterilized, to prevent any infection to the plant. If the underside of the leaves has spots, it is possible that it depends on the cochineal. It is necessary to pass some cotton wool soaked in alcohol or wash the leaves carefully with water and soap. In the case of external plants, specific chemical products must be used. Crumpled yellow leaves denote the attack of the mite known as red spider mite. It may be useful to moisten the leaves and clean them well or, in the worst cases, resort to adequate insecticides.