Periwinkle grows best in zones 4-9. It is suited to various types of soils in an area with partial shade and a mild climate. If it is planted in an area that receives full sunlight, it should be watered more often. The soil should be well-drained and kept moist, with a pH level between 6.0-7.8. Periwinkle should be planted 1-2 feet apart, as it grows 6 inches tall but .5 to 1.5 feet wide. Periwinkle thrive in a moist environment. Humus should be added to the soil in order for it to retain moisture. The plant can be invasive, so it need to be cut often in order to maintain its size. Periwinkles can be planted on slopes or hills in order to prevent erosion. In East Africa, Madagascar periwinkle has spread to inhabit roadsides, abandoned quarries and farmland. (6) 

Culinary and Medicinal Uses
Madagascar periwinkle was originally used in Madagascar as a treatment for diabetes and than this treatment later spread to South Africa, Jamaica, Suriname, Vietnam, the Philippines, India, and Australia. This type of periwinkle contains a group of alkaloids that have potential uses to treat cancer. Two of which, vincristine and vinblastine, are sometimes used to treat common types of leukemia and lymphoma. However without proper extraction techniques, periwinkle can be extremely toxic. Vincristine is credited with raising the survival rate of childhood leukemia from under 10% to over 90%. (5)

Significance to Cultural Communities
Periwinkle is an important plant in Madagascar because of its medicinal value. Periwinkle tea is popular amongst diabetics in Madagascar (2). It was commonly used in South Africa and Europe to lower blood pressure. In some Caribbean voodoo cultures, people will sew periwinkle leaves on the mattress of the newlywed couples' bed for prolonged happiness in their marriage. (4)


(1.) Common Periwinkle, Creeping Myrtle, Flower-of-Death Vinca minor. (n.d.). Retrieved October 25, 2013,
from Dave's Garden website: 
(2.) Prance, S. G., & Nesbitt, M. (Eds.). (2012). The Cultural History of Plants [e-book]. Retrieved from   books?id=8ejo63Wk5rgC&pg=PT546&lpg=PT546&dq=periwinkle+cultural+history&source=bl&ots=p3uYumN-tq&sig=bvaM4eQVLERVyzFqTYcxohyZQno&hl=en&sa=X&ei=75R0UoJcqaiwBOmpgdAF&ved=0CFQQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=periwinkle%20cultural%20history&f=false 
(3.) Common Periwinkle Vinca minor L. Plant S ymbol = VIMI2. (2002, February 5). Retrieved October 24, 2013, from United States Department of Agriculture website: