vinca vinca vinca vinca

If you have any doubt about what today's post is about, let me make it clear: vinca. Vinca major 'variegata' to be exact. I write about this almost every year, as it needs to be explained as often as it needs to be tended.


As vigorous as this vine is, spreading 8-10' (2.5-3m) in a single year, I wouldn't stop growing it. Wonderful variegated foliage, almost evergreen, with cheery purple flowers once in a while -- it's a lovely plant. It does need to be beaten back every year though or it will take over.

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I usually cut this back once in late winter, then once more in summer. I didn't do that last summer though, and things got a bit out of hand.


I like this plant surrounding the large raised bed, and softening the rocks on one side of the stream.

I do not like it covering up both the bed and most of the stream though. Of the two trimmings this should get each year, the winter control is the harshest. I first yank out as much of the vines as I can:


Pulling big armfuls of the longest vines isn't enough though:


I still need to cut it down to almost nothing. It looks fresh and lovely, but don't let that sway your hand -- you must continue with resolve.


I remove as much as I can, pulling some stray rootings as I find them, and cutting all of the foliage from the main plants.


I know I'll never remove every single plant though, so I don't worry about perfection. (That's really the best adice I can give to new gardeners in general: "don't worry about perfection")

(The smaller planter on the left isn't tilted nearly
as much as it seems to be in these photos.)

Ah, that's better!


Now I can see all of the rocks and lots of wood. True, the foliage is missing from the equation, but that will soon return and restore the visual balance of materials.

So job done, right?

Well, not quite. There's another side to this box:


Yikes. The vinca is even more out-of-control over here!


So the same procedure again: grab handfuls of vine, yank as much out as possible, then cut the plants down to 6" (15cm) or so.


Big difference, especially when seen half-completed!


And that, finally, is job done. Vinca back under control.

To be honest there will be more "detail" work done later: pulling small plants that rooted out in the lawn or at the base of the rose.

But I'm happy with this hour's work, and I won't have to worry about this again for another 6 months.

Vinca!

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Ginny  – (February 22, 2013 at 7:17 PM)  

This is so familiar. We have Vinca as a ground cover and love it - but like you, we beat it back every year.

Steve Lau  – (February 22, 2013 at 9:11 PM)  

Seeing how you have so many raised boxes, have you ever considered growing carrots in them?

I have tried growing carrots before, but they tend to grow short and ugly since my soil is too hard, but if you have raised beds, that might be ideal for carrots which can be a compliment plant so some of your taller plants.

M  – (February 23, 2013 at 9:24 PM)  

Vinca puts bamboo to shame in my yard, if it ever had viable wind blown seed it would the Kudzu of the Northeast.

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