Vinca minor

How to Keep Vinca From Getting Leggy?

Are you noticing your lovely vinca plants beginning to look a bit stretched out and not as bushy as they used to be? You might be dealing with what gardeners call “leggy” plants. But don’t worry – with some care, you can bring them back to their beautiful, full state.

Vinca: A Basic Guide

Vincas, also known as periwinkles, are stunning plants known for their glossy leaves and bright, star-shaped flowers. They are low-maintenance and resilient, making them a favorite among both newbie and seasoned gardeners. To understand why they might get “leggy,” it’s helpful to know more about their growth habits. Vincas love sunny spots and well-draining soil. They are usually pretty compact, but if conditions aren’t ideal, they can become leggy – growing tall and spindly instead of full and lush. But don’t fret; in the following sections, we’ll dive into why this happens and what you can do about it!

Greenwood Nursery: Live Ground-Cover Plants – Vinca Minor + Lesser/Dwarf Periwinkle – [Qty: 50 Bare Roots] – (Click for Other Available Plants/Quantities)
  • [INFO1] – One of the faster growing ground cover plants for covering large areas. It produces soft periwinkle blue flowers sporadically over early Spring to Summer. Also called Creeping Periwinkle, it’s a trailing ground cover vine that grows low to the ground with a good matting habit that is evergreen. Shade loving plant. Once established is Drought proof. Plants are fast growing for more rapid coverage.
  • [INFO2] – Adaptable to most any soil, vinca minor prefers fairly good soil and is easier to control than many other creeping ground cover plants. Also referred to as Trailing Periwinkle, Creeping Periwinkle or Creeping Myrtle evergreen. As with many fast growing plants, vinca can be invasive if not monitored. With a little attention and care, it can be grown safely in most landscape settings. Plant spacing for bare root vinca minor: 12 inches apart. 100 plants will cover 100 square feet.
  • [DETAILS] – Category: Groundcover Plants, Perennials, Evergreen Perennials ● Plant Type: Evergreen ● Light Requirement: Full Sun, Partial, Full Shade ● Soil Condition: Well Drained, Moist ● Bloom Season: Spring ● Bloom Color: Blue, Purple ● Mature Height: 0 – 1ft ● Growth Rate: Fast-Growing ● Planting Zone: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
  • [PACKING/SHIPPING] – Greenwood Nursery takes the utmost care to make sure you get your plants healthy, vibrant, well protected & alive! BARE ROOTS = are covered with hydrating gel (hydrates while out of soil), wrapped in moist paper & placed into airtight plastic wrap (traps moisture). POTTED PLANTS = Shrink wrap/tape the Pot so soil doesn’t spill out. BOTH the Bare Root & Potted plants are secured in a Box with shipping Peanuts, to minimize movement.
  • [GREENWOOD GUARANTEE] – We strive to satisfy customers with their purchase, please contact us IMMEDIATELY if there are any issues with the order! We take full responsibility for our mistakes but proof will be required for other issues, & buyers are responsible for user error. Make sure you are purchasing from our GREENWOOD NURSERY store to avoid any issues, you will know your package is from us with our Logo on the Plant & in/on the Box.

What Does “Leggy” Mean in Gardening?

“Leggy” might sound like a strange term when we talk about plants, right? In gardening, when we say a plant is getting “leggy,” it means it’s growing tall with long stems and few leaves or flowers. Instead of growing bushy and full, the plant looks sparse and stretched out. Not only does this make the plant less attractive, but it can also weaken it. The stems might become too thin and weak to support the weight of any flowers or fruits. Now that we know what “leggy” means, let’s find out why your vincas might be looking a bit leggy.

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Causes of Legginess in Vinca Plants

There are a few reasons why vincas become leggy. One of the biggest culprits is insufficient light. Vincas love the sun and when they don’t get enough of it, they stretch towards it, causing long, thin stems.

Another reason can be over-fertilization. Sounds strange, right? We usually think that the more fertilizer we give our plants, the better they’ll grow. But too much of it can actually cause the plants to focus more on growing their stems, rather than their leaves and flowers.

Lastly, legginess can be a result of overcrowding. If the plants are too close together, they can start to compete for light and resources, causing them to grow taller to reach the light. In the next sections, we will talk about how you can prevent your vincas from becoming leggy and how to fix them if they already are.

Practical Steps to Prevent Vinca from Getting Leggy

You now know what causes vincas to get leggy, but how do you stop it from happening? It’s easier than you might think!

First, make sure your vincas are getting enough sunlight. They should get at least six hours of sunlight a day. If your vincas are indoors, place them by a south-facing window for maximum light exposure. For outdoor vincas, plant them in an area that isn’t shaded.

Next, be mindful of your fertilizer use. Yes, vincas do need nutrients to grow, but too much of a good thing can be harmful. Use a balanced, slow-release fertilizer and follow the instructions on the package. Remember, it’s better to under-fertilize than over-fertilize!

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Lastly, give your vincas space to grow. If you’re planting vincas in a pot, make sure it’s big enough for the plant’s roots to spread out. If they’re in a garden, ensure there’s enough space between each plant. This will prevent them from competing for resources and light.

Miracle-Gro Potting Mix, Potting Soil for Indoor and Outdoor Container Plants, Enriched with Plant Food, 1 cu. ft.
  • Grows Plants Twice as Big (vs. unfed plants)
  • Feeds up to 6 months
  • More blooms for more color (vs. unfed plants)
  • For indoor and outdoor container plants
  • For use in containers.

How to Treat a Leggy Vinca Plant

If your vinca plant is already looking leggy, don’t worry, it’s not a lost cause. Here are a few steps to help get your vinca back in shape.

First, consider moving your plant to a sunnier spot if it’s not getting enough light. If the problem is overcrowding, try to space out your plants or repot them if they’re in containers.

When it comes to over-fertilization, stop fertilizing for a while to let your plant recover. Then, when you start again, use a lower dose.

Finally, you might need to prune your leggy vincas. Cutting back the plant’s long stems will encourage it to grow more branches, resulting in a bushier, more compact plant. Use sharp, clean scissors or pruning shears and cut the stem back to a set of leaves. New growth should sprout from this point, making your vinca plant look fuller and healthier.

Remember, with a little care and attention, your vinca plant can recover from being leggy and grow into a beautiful, lush plant.

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Regular Care Tips for Keeping Vinca Plants Healthy

Even though we’ve been focusing on preventing and treating legginess in vinca plants, it’s essential to remember the basics of vinca care. Here are some simple yet important tips:

  1. Watering: Vincas prefer well-draining soil that isn’t too wet. Water them thoroughly but let the soil dry out before watering again. If you’re not sure when to water, stick your finger an inch into the soil. If it’s dry, it’s watering time!
  2. Soil: Vincas aren’t too fussy about soil, but they do prefer slightly acidic soil. If you’re planting in containers, use a standard potting mix. For outdoor plants, you can add some compost or peat moss to make the soil more acidic.
  3. Pests and Diseases: Keep an eye out for common pests like aphids and spider mites. If you spot any, treat your plants promptly with a mild insecticide or soap solution. Also, be on the lookout for fungal diseases, especially if your vincas have been watered excessively or if the weather has been particularly humid.

By following these care tips and being attentive to your plants’ needs, you can ensure that your vincas will stay healthy, full, and vibrant!

Outsidepride 50 Seeds Annual Vinca Periwinkle Burgundy Ground Cover & Flower Seed for Planting
  • The burgundy vinca spreads to 20 – 30″ making it an excellent ground cover plant. These plants will bloom from late spring to late summer giving deep, vibrant, burgundy flowers. Great low maintenance periwinkle for attracting bees and butterflies. Only grows 4 – 6 inches tall!
  • Vinca is best grown in full sun areas or areas that get at least 6 hours of direct sunlight a day. Soil should be well drained and these drought tolerant plants do not need a lot of water so be careful not to overwater. Season long blooms bursting with color from late Spring to late Summer for gardens and containers.
  • Grow Vinca seeds indoors 4 – 6 weeks before the last frost is expected. Cover the Vinca Periwinkle seeds with 1/4 inch of potting mix, spray with water to moisten and press down lightly. Vinca flower seeds will not germinate in any sort of light, so cover trays or containers with a black plastic sheet or a newspaper. Lift the plastic or newspaper regularly to moisten by misting.
  • Grows best in full sun and is considered resistant to deer. Once Periwinkle seedlings emerge, they need bright light. At about 2 – 3 inches tall, transplant the strongest plants into individual pots. The plants can be moved outside once the temperature is consistently above 65F degrees.
  • Sow 2 – 3 seeds per plant and keep seeds moist until germination. Directly sowing seeds is not recommended, but if you choose to direct sow, follow the same steps as above. Wait until danger of frost has passed and temperatures are consistently warm, and prepare the soil well so that it is light and fine.


Legginess in vinca plants can be a bit of a hassle, but with the right knowledge and care, it’s an issue that can be easily managed. Remember, the secret to healthy, lush vincas is providing enough light, careful fertilization, giving them adequate space, and, of course, consistent care.

So, don’t be disheartened if your vincas have become a little leggy. You now have all the tools you need to prevent and remedy the situation. Happy vinca growing!

About the author

Victoria Nelson

Victoria Nelson is a passionate gardener with over a decade of experience in horticulture and sustainable gardening practices. With a degree in Horticulture, she has a deep understanding of plants, garden design, and eco-friendly gardening techniques. Victoria aims to inspire and educate gardeners of all skill levels through her engaging articles, offering practical advice drawn from her own experiences. She believes in creating beautiful, biodiverse gardens that support local wildlife. When not writing or gardening, Victoria enjoys exploring new gardens and connecting with the gardening community. Her enthusiasm for gardening is infectious, making her a cherished source of knowledge and inspiration.

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