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How to Transplant Periwinkle

by M.H. Dyer

At heights of 3 to 6 inches, periwinkle (Vinca minor) is a low-growing plant that works well as a ground cover -- putting down roots wherever the stems touch the soil. Attractive lavender-blue blooms appear above shiny evergreen foliage in spring. Periwinkle is also suitable for planting in containers where it quickly trails over the sides. A hardy plant that tolerates chilly temperatures, periwinkle is a perennial in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 9. Periwinkle transplants easily in early spring or early autumn.

Prepare a planting area in full sunlight. If you live in a climate with hot summers, plant periwinkle where it is protected by shade during the afternoon.

Spade the soil to a depth of at least 6 inches. Dig in 1 inch of organic matter such as compost or decomposed manure.

Water the periwinkle, and then let the area drain until the soil is moist but not soggy. Transplantation is much easier when the soil is damp enough to stick to the roots.

Insert a sharp shovel into the soil about 6 inches from the plant. Dig around the perimeter of the plant to loosen the roots, and then lift the periwinkle, along with the clump of soil attached to the roots, carefully from the ground.

Dig a hole in the prepared area. Make the hole about twice the width of the clump of soil. Place the plant in the hole. Be sure to plant the periwinkle at the same depth it was planted in its original location, because planting too deeply may cause the plant to rot. Allow 8 to 12 inches between each plant if you are transplanting more than one periwinkle.

Fill in the hole with soil. Water the plant deeply to saturate the soil around the roots to a depth of 6 inches. Water the plant every other day or whenever the top 2 to 3 inches of soil feels dry to the touch. Once established, vinca requires no supplemental water.

Spread 1 to 1 1/2 inches of mulch, such as bark chips or compost, around the plants to conserve moisture, keep the roots cool and discourage growth of weeds.

Items you will need

  • Spade
  • Organic matter
  • Shovel
  • Mulch


  • Don't fertilize immediately after transplanting periwinkle because the roots need time to become established in the new location. If you transplanted in autumn, fertilize the plant in spring. If you transplant in spring, wait until midsummer.


  • Periwinkle is a fast-spreading plant that is invasive in many areas of the country. The plant causes serious problems because the thick mats choke out native plants. Once established, the plant is difficult to remove because the roots are long. Planting periwinkle in hanging baskets or containers keeps the plants within boundaries and curbs the rampant growth.

About the Author

M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.

Photo Credits

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