Afraid to plant it!

amj0517May 21, 2012

Hi All - I posted this in the groundcover forum, but it doesn't look like they have as much traffic as we do here, so I thought I'd run it by the gardeners here on the decorating side.

I purchased myrtle a few weeks ago because I love how it looks. I knew that it was an aggressive plant, but the reviews I've seen online are scaring me! :)

I have several areas when I could plant it, but most of them border the lawn and I have a feeling that I would be setting myself up for A LOT of work in the future once it is established.

I have a planting area that is surrounded by concrete (the front of the house on one side, then a long sidewalk the leads to the driveway. I am thinking about putting it there since it will be "captive". However, there are already hostas and day lilies planted in the area. Would myrtle choke the existing plants, or would it just provide a nice cover around them?


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
cyn427 (zone 7)

Are you talking about Vinca? I think myrtle may be a common name for it, but I am not sure. There is Vinca major and Vinca minor. Either will cover your hostas and daylilies. You can use it, but you will constantly be pulling it back or cutting it back. If you have a choice and are determined to try it, I would choose the V. minor. It is pretty and the blue/purple flowers are nice, but it is also a thug. Ask me how I know...ha. I am still pulling it out after 15 years (of course, the yard was overrun with it when we moved in here). POs planted nothing but ivy, vinca, and bamboo. What a nightmare.

If myrtle is not the same as vinca, ignore all of the above! ;)

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 7:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If it's vinca I wouldn't worry about it. We had vinca at our old house, and it didn't really spread much at all, though I know that it can. YMMV of course.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 7:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm assuming you're referring to the periwinkle Myrtle. It WILL take over and shade/crowd out other plants. It's best to containerize any plant that spreads through rhizomes or roots so you can manage it. If it's a seed spreader...well, there is no containment. Periwinkle sends out new root systems as it grows along the ground.

Maybe you can move your hosta and other plants to different containers and let the myrtle go in the concrete planter. Usually if you have only one plant, it's fairly manageable as they only grow so big, but if you have several pots to plant, it needs to be left to it's own monoculture.

Treat it like any other perennial and expect it to get much, much larger tuan you thought it would in a couple years.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 8:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It is vinca minor. I've seen it around trees - beautiful! I'm apprehensive about the smaller plants getting lost in it. We currently have mulch around everything, but I thought the greenery would be a nice change.

Here's another question for you too -- We have landscape fabric under our mulch. Will the vinca be able to spread and grow with the fabic in place?

Ugh - maybe I should try to return it.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 8:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Depending on your climate and the location (full/partial sun) and water conditions, it could root. Mulch is designed to decompose and will become a planting medium over time, regardless of landscape fabric. And because the fabric is porous, roots can get thru the tiny holes.

So one small 4" pot isn't going to yield a monster in a short time, but a gallon size pot will be too big for your spot.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 8:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
cyn427 (zone 7)

I expect the vigor with which it spreads depends on where you live. We are in Virginia. I agree that the V. minor is pretty and I do know it is less of a problem than the major since we have both. If you don't mind keeping it trimmed and you don't have it near your garden beds, it may be okay. I am just very leery of ground covers considering what I have been trying to undo for so many years. If you put it in, watch it, and don't let it get out of control, you will probably love it.

No experience with landscape fabric, so I can't answer that for you. It seems logical that that might inhibit its spread, but then if you want it as a ground cover, isn't spread what you want? I do think it looks pretty around trees.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 8:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm house sitting a neighbor's house. They put landscape fabric down about 3-4 yrs ago. I'm weeding every weekend, pulling weeds through the fabric. it's a waste of money and a pain in the arse to weed through.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 8:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We have landscape fabric under our mulch. Will the vinca be able to spread and grow with the fabric in place?

Are you asking whether the landscape fabric will stop it? It's hard to say. It will at first. I doubt that the roots could grow below the fabric and break through, but they will find any hole or break in the fabric and pop through. And worse, the above ground part could flop over the fabric and take root in the mulch.

I love what landscape fabric does short term, but after a couple years it's a pain to deal with. The weeds that grow on top of the fabric attach to it and you can't pull them out.

And then when you go to remove the fabric, tiny roots have worked their way through it and it's as if it is glued to the ground. You need brute force to pull it up. I'm almost not strong enough to do it. I use a box cutter to help me slice through the root systems. I have this all over my yard, put down by the former owner. It's a mess.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 9:54AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have vinca minor planted in a few clumps around one of the trees in in a bed in my front yard. It has been there for probably 10 years and hardly spread at all. Little by little, I've seen some growth, but it hasn't spread nearly as much as I hoped it would. However, I have another smaller bed in a corner b/w my driveway and sidewalk that has a crepe myrtle in the middle. I NEVER planted any vinca or anything else there at all. Just mulched it. Somehow vinca got in there (it is surrounded by concrete/pavement on two side and grass w/edging on the front side) and it has completely covered the entire mulched bed. It actually looks nice, but I always thought it funny that it took over that bed despite not having ever been planted there, but in the area where I wanted it to spread, it never really took hold, just the same small clumps w/tiny bit of growth each year from when I first planted it.

Just thought I'd put that out there so you realize that it may or may not takeover the area, but it could also spread to somewhere that's not even adjacent to the original plant. My two beds are at least 25 feet apart so obviously it seeded somehow (squirrel? ).

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 11:34AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have periwinkle under a couple of cedar trees in an area that gets late afternoon sun. ( zone 7 I think) I planted it probably 20 years ago and yes it has spread but it is not invasive. In the same area I also have some hostas, a camillia and bark mulch on top of garden fabric. I haven't had any problems with the periwinkle taking over. Every spring I make sure it isn't climbing under the cedar siding of the house by just pulling it back and being vicious with the pruning shears. It doesn't care. Besides that little bit of maintenance it is maintenance-free ground cover.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 1:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for all of the feedback. It sounded like it would be a gamble. Myrtle stayed under control for some, but has been a nightmare for others. I chickened out and returned it (I can't believe the store took it back after several weeks!). Thanks again!

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 2:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sorry it did not work out. Our neighbors have it and I always wondered what it was. Theirs seems to be contained.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 4:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Vinca won't choke out spreads if it's happy....that means has a nice loamy soil and the right amount of sun and water. If it's not happy, it just sits there!
Landscape fabric is awful. Ruins the soil beneath by eliminating any action of earth worms and other agents which serve to decompose the vegetable matter in the soil. Eventually it will fill with small particulate matter and prevent water soaking in, and will support weed growth.....and you will have to tear it out. If you doubt me....ask about landscape fabric on the garden web...particularly perennials and hosta forums.
I have vinca minor....AKA Myrtle, growing between my hosta in some places, and it looks lovely!!
Sorry you caved to the nay sayers and returned it.
Linda C

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 11:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I googled. I have vinca minor and it spreads slowly and stays in bounds- have had it for 30 some years. I also have vinca major- accidently. It rooted from an annual container I had on the front steps. Found out from google that it is a perennial, not an annual, and it has taken over. Thats why the winter didnt kill it off. arrgh. much pulling to do this weekend. and agree with the landscape fabric- it doesnt work well for us.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2012 at 10:07AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have a perennial vinca, it gets blue flowers in the spring. It is planted in shade in and around my hosta. I have several hundred hosta..and a few companion plants. The vinca has traveled EVERYWHERE. I pull it away from my hosta crowns each spring and again in the fall some. I planted it as a ground AVOID mulch. It is not choking out any of my plants. If you have watering issues I would not want it to compete with your other plants. Landscape fabric is a NIGHTMARE and should only be used under rock to keep the rock from sinking into the dirt. I now dig out fern and vinca vine each spring to add to my pots for annuals. It saves me $$$ on "spikes and vines" like the most beautiful pots seem to have. Sometimes too much can be a good thing!!

    Bookmark   May 26, 2012 at 12:53PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Where on Fence for Exterior Closet
I'm purchasing a "shed closet" to be installed...
Carrie B
JeNu Infuser anyone?
I just saw this product and it looks awesome. However...
Holly- Kay
Colored crystal chandelier
Does anyone have good pics of colored crystal chandys?...
Duvet cover
Should my duvet be the same size as the comforter it...
Hutch/Desk Combo for Small Condo
I'm planning to move into a small condo where every...
Sponsored Products
Mirabelle Orchid Single Candlestick - MULTI COLORS
$2,200.00 | Horchow
Metal Flower Wall Accent in Raw Finish
| Dot & Bo
Large Herb Garden Square Platter
$34.99 | zulily
Dura-Trel Vinyl Hillcrest Potting Bench - 11201
$225.99 | Hayneedle
Ivy Ball on Stem - 4-1/4"H
$39.50 | FRONTGATE
ViaVolt Garden Tools 4 ft. 4-Bulb T5 High Output Copper Fluorescent Grow Light
Home Depot
Luxembourg Bar Cart w/ Wheels - Fermob
$950.00 | HORNE
Martha Stewart Living™ Lombard Round End Table
Home Decorators Collection
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™