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Glossy leaves, stellar blue flowers, quick coverage -- periwinkle is an ideal coverage for shade. Its only flaw is that it's so popular it's become underappreciated.
Prepare the soil well prior to planting and add humus to retain moisture. Keep the plants cut back to encourage bushy growth, and to keep them within bounds. Periwinkle can become invasive.
Part Sun, Shade, Sun
Under 6 inches to 3 feet
how to grow Periwinkle
garden plans for Periwinkle
more varieties for Periwinkle
(Vinca minor 'Atropurpurea') bears creeping stems and dark purple flowers on and off from spring to fall. Zones 4-9.
(Vinca minor) offers pretty blue blooms periodically from spring to frost. Zones 4-9.
plant Periwinkle with
In early spring, the brilliant blue, pink, or white flowers of lungwort bloom despite the coldest chill. The rough basal leaves, spotted or plain, always please and continue to be handsome through the season and into winter. Planted close as a weed-discouraging groundcover, or in borders as edgings or bright accent plants, lungworts are workhorses and retain their good looks. Provide high-humus soil that retains moisture. Although lungwort tolerates dry conditions, be alert for mildew.
Used often as a groundcover or an edging plant, liriope is popular for good reason. It stays green year-round in many climates, produces pretty blue or white flowers, and is about as tough a plant as you'll hope to meet. Its dense tufts of almost-evergreen, broadly grassy leaves are often striped. Stiff stems bear tight spikes of tiny blue or white bells, similar to those of grape hyacinth. It is best protected from drying winds in rich, well-drained soil that retains moisture.
The elegant, sweeping lines of this grass are so lovely that it's a favorite among gardeners. And Japanese forestgrass is one of only a few ornamental grasses that thrive in shade. Its mounding clumps of arching, grassy leaves gradually increase in size, never becoming invasive. Variegated cultivars are particularly attractive. All thrive in moisture-retaining, humus-rich soil and even tolerate dry conditions.