Vinca minor – Old-fashioned periwinkle has been in cultivated gardens for hundreds of years. The species bears periwinkle-blue flowers from March to May (with sporadic summer blooms) and thrives in deep shade to part sun, tolerating full sun in coastal BC. This plant should not be used near green belts or natural forests due to its invasive nature. Grows 4-6″ high. Zone 4.
Vinca minor ‘Alba’ (syn. Vinca minor f. alba) – One of Gertrude Jekyll’s favourite woodland plants and an RHS Award of Garden Merit winner. The pure white April to June blooms really stand out in the shaded garden and the bright green leaves are slightly smaller. ‘Alba’ flowers best in part sun and roots wherever stems touch the ground. Grows 4-6″ high and 2′ wide. Zone 4.
Vinca minor ‘Illumination’ – This variegated periwinkle features bright gold inset variegation with deep green margins that show off the March to May periwinkle blue flowers rather well. It is a great accent plant for shade containers and the stems turn a pinkish-red in winter. This 2001 introduction was discovered in Washington State. Grows 4-6″ high. Zone 4.
Vinca minor ‘Atropurpurea’ (syn. ‘Purpurea’, ‘Rubra’) – Another RHS Award of Garden Merit winner with sumptuous April to September blooms (more flowers in spring) of an unusual deep plum-purple with a lighter contrasting eye. ‘Atropurpurea’ has deep green foliage and is best divided in early autumn or spring. Grows 4-6″ high by 2-3′ wide. Evergreen. Zone 4.
Vinca major ‘Expoflora’ – A much coarser species of periwinkle with larger foliage and flowers. ‘Expoflora’ in particular features deep green leaves with creamy-white variegation (brighter than ‘Variegata’) with huge 1.5″ wide periwinkle blue flowers borne intermittently throughout the summer. This is best used in planters and window boxes. Grows 6-8″ high. Zone 7.