If you can't control periwinkle by manual removal, use a herbicide.

How to Keep a Vinca Minor Contained

by Sarah Mason

Vinca minor, commonly called periwinkle, is an invasive plant that grows in open woods and on roadsides. This perennial, evergreen herb grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 9. While you may find its blue or purple flowers attractive, periwinkle can be a problem in gardens. Once established, periwinkle spreads rapidly and grows densely, smothering other plants. If you struggle to keep periwinkle under control in your garden, you have several containment options.

Pull, rake or dig up periwinkle as soon as you see it begin to spread. It is important to cut back and contain periwinkle continually, otherwise it may start to take over your yard.

Put all soil, dead plants, cuttings and clippings directly into the garbage to prevent spreading. Parts of the plant may regenerate and spread to other areas of your yard.

Remove any flowers you see by pinching them off or clipping them off with shears. This helps prevent periwinkle from producing seeds.

Hold the sprayer of a ready-to-use glyphosate herbicide a few inches from the periwinkle and spray lightly until the leaves are moist. Wear rubber gardening gloves, safety glasses and a filter mask or bandanna over your mouth and nose for protection. Use this method for large areas of periwinkle. Wait seven days and reapply as needed. Read the herbicide label and follow all instructions carefully.

Items you will need

  • Gardening gloves
  • Rake
  • Spade
  • Garden shears (optional)
  • Glyphosate herbicide
  • Rubber gardening gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Filter mask or bandana


  • Periwinkle is an invasive species that can alter water flow, lead to erosion, increase fire hazards and exclude other plants. Consider replacing periwinkle with a similar, non-invasive species such as dwarf crested iris (Iris cristata), which grows in USDA zones 3 to 8.
  • If you want to have some of this plant in your yard, grow it in containers.


  • Always use caution when handling herbicides. Avoid contact with eyes or clothing and keep children out of the area until the herbicide has dried.
  • Always wear protective gloves when handling herbicides.
  • Glyphosate will kill any plant it touches, not just unwanted periwinkle. Plan your spray path carefully to avoid spraying the plants you want to keep.

About the Author

Based in Fort Worth, Sarah Mason has been writing articles since 2009 on topics including nutrition, fitness, women's health and gardening. Her work has appeared in "Flourish" and "Her Campus." Mason holds a Bachelors of Arts in economics from the University of Florida.

Photo Credits

  • Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images