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The plant of the month for March is Vinca

The plant of the month for March is Vinca

The plant of the month for March is Vinca, better known as the periwinkle and a fantastic choice for covering the ground with a carpet of sky blue, star-shaped flowers from spring onwards. Even better, its attractive glossy foliage is evergreen, spreading into a handsome year-round backdrop for other plants and at the same time suppressing weeds and locking moisture in the ground.

There are two main types. Vinca major is a very vigorous, rapid-spreading ground cover which romps over the ground and is great for covering large areas. But for most gardens, Vinca minor (the lesser periwinkle) is the better choice: a smaller, more dainty version of its larger cousin, it quickly knits into a dense mat when planted in groups around 30cm apart.

Vinca is very easy-going, enjoying sun or part shade and happy in any garden soil. It makes a lovely underplanting for spring bulbs like snowdrops or crocus, extending the season well into summer – you should get flowers here and there later in the year, too.

There are plenty of good-looking cultivars to choose from: 'Atropurpurea' has dark plum-purple flowers, while 'Gertrude Jekyll' is pure white. 'Argenteovariegata' has sky blue flowers with the added bonus of prettily variegated leaves, each margined in creamy white.