Anyone use vinca as a groundcover?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Let it Grow, Jul 15, 2003.

  1. Let it Grow

    Let it Grow LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 476

    Homeowner wants to use vinca (periwinkle) or buffalo grass as a ground cover. I was thinking juniper (partly because I wouldn't have to work up the ground) I don't know too much about vinca. Here is a picture of the lot (if it works) This is related to my earlier post about groundcover on a hillside. The picture should help!

  2. blafleur

    blafleur LawnSite Member
    Posts: 229

    Vinca is used a lot in my area for this but at least in our heat, it requires shade in the afternoon.

  3. dan deutekom

    dan deutekom LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 424

    That hill looks to sunny for vinca. Should at least have partial shade.
  4. yardmonkey

    yardmonkey LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 340

    Vinca needs shade - buffalo grass needs FULL SUN.

    Also need to differentiate between vinca minor and vinca major. V. minor is more preffered and well-behaved. And either are not to be confused with Vinca rosea (recently renamed to Catharanthus roseus), more commonly known as periwinkle (also called Madagascar periwinkle so as not to be confused with V. major or V. minor, which are both also correctly known as periwinkle!). V. minor (dwarf periwinkle or common periwinkle) and V. major (greater periwinkle) are also known as myrtle. I love Vinca minor as a ground cover, but I seem to see it not doing well in even part shade in these parts. I'm working on cleaning up a huge yard that is covered in V. minor. Cleaning out euonymous, english ivy, virginia creeper, honeysuckle, etc. The V. minor forms a nice even carpet under the shade of lots of large Easter Red Cedars (which are actually junipers!).

    There may be many other options for that hillside, but buffalo grass would be a very interesting project. Just tonight I happened to be thinking that it would be cool if someone wanted me to plant a buffalo grass lawn. I think its expensive, but there is little or no maintenance once it is fully in - some people mow it a couple of time a year and some people never mow it. It would be great to see more of it around. But it does require FULL sun.......
  5. yardmonkey

    yardmonkey LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 340

    You may need more input from people in your area. Maybe vinca can do OK in sun up there? Does buffalo grass grow at all up there?

    IS that their back yard - wow, if they wanted to spend some money, they could keep you busy for a long time doing some really special stuff there. Like terraces with various perenniels, etc.

    It may be no fun to mow such a hill, but I wonder if grass would be more appropriate than junipers or some other ground cover where there might be the problem of continually removing weeds and tree sprouts. But junipers may be just the thing......
  6. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,944

    You are in Walla Walla. I've been there. Its warmer in summer than Portland, a bit. And a bit cooler and dryer in winter.

    Check the zones on that plant first.

    In Portland, it does grow fine in sun if irrigated.

    One lady in Tualatin, near Portland, has hers in full sun, and has me run a mower on it twice a year to keep it groomed since it grows so well.

    That's all day full sun.

    If you go for the Vinca - mulch very well. On that hill, you may want to shoot for late September install, probably at least gallon size.

    If not, don't go less that 4" pots on a slope. Not in that climate.

    How about the old Kinnickinnick?
  7. Let it Grow

    Let it Grow LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 476

    I personally think that vinca woud not do well because it's gonna get full sun. Today was near 100 degrees, and there will usually be two weeks of over 100 (up to 115 sometimes) in the summertime here. The homeowner asked a friend of hers who does landscaping at a local college and he suggested vinca. I still think juniper is the way to go, but I'll plant what she wants. I'll be sure to tell her that she will be taking a chance with it though.
    Yeah, I wish she had the money to do some terraces, but she's looking for a cheaper, quicker way out (The neighbors are tired at looking at her weed-filled hill!!!). She said she would decide within the next few days, I should be able to start planting next week. Thanks for all the ideas, and any more would be greatly appreciated!
  8. yardmonkey

    yardmonkey LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 340

    There's always monkey grass. Liriope spicata spreads much faster than the larger Liriope muscari. Or mondo grass, which is like dwarf monkey grass, I think it spreads much slower and may not like the full sun. And then there's euonymous fortunii - purple wintercreeper. I don't like it much (or any kind of euonymous) but it may do better in the sun than vinca minor and may spread faster. It can be mowed and may need it to look nice. Another shrub to consider might be cotoneaster. I bet junipers will be good. There are tons of types - anyone have suggestions for specific varieties? Of course it may also depend on what you can find. Might be worth looking at Bishops weed. It could be helpful to put some big rocks in to help control erosion as well as for appearance. But thats a project and an expense......
  9. drobson

    drobson LawnSite Member
    Posts: 237

    Vinca/Periwinkle/Myrtle, is used alot in my area, even in full sun, but it's not hot for that long of a time.
  10. lugnut#6

    lugnut#6 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 404

    if it grows there,i still think some form of jasmine.(asiatic,confederate,carolina).its used alot down here in ms. and it also flowers.
    but also bear in mind im no expert.i just like to help out with suggestions:)

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