Replacing Vinca with a native ground cover


I have been seeing posts on FB groups (Ontario Gardening eg) that Vinca is invasive and not local and should be eradicated. Is this true
If yes, what ground cover would you recommend?


Thank you so much for asking this very interesting question. Finding a native plant to replace horticultural plants that have become a source of concern is increasing in interest. This topic will gain in prominence as the Toronto Master Gardeners extend their outreach since receiving a microgrant from the Invasive Species Centre.

Vinca (commonly known as Periwinkle) is now considered a potentially invasive plant even though you can still buy it in plant nurseries. It has escaped from people’s gardens and has become a pest in our ravines, choking out native plant species. It spreads rapidly via seed, roots, and stems. That means that when you try and get rid of it, if you leave a little root behind, it can germinate. So ongoing vigilance is required.

The Ontario Invasive Plants Council has published a booklet on Invasive plants and their native plant alternatives, which can be downloaded and is a great resource: Ontario invasive plants

They suggest as alternative native ground covers:

  • Wild Strawberry (Fragaria virginiana)
  • Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense)
  • Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)
  • Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens)
  • Heart-leaved floamflower (Tiarella cordifolia)
  • Wild geranium (Geranium maculatum)
  • Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum)
  • Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis)
  • Running euonymus (Euonymus obovatus)

All of these are very pretty and will create a lovely groundcover for you. Happy gardening.