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Periwinkle vs Lavender – What’s The Difference?

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Periwinkles and lavenders are both common flowering plants known for their purple color. They look good in vases and make great bouquets. So, they are loved by many. But there is more to know about these popular purple flowers. 

If you are not well-versed in botany, here is your chance to get to know these flowers. Our periwinkle vs lavender article will take you through everything there is to know, including their similarities and differences. Happy reading! 

Overview Of Periwinkle & Lavender


Periwinkle is a type of flowering evergreen plant. It is also referred to as vinca minor. Its foliage is dark green, while the flowers can be purple, white, or blue, depending on the subspecies (More on that later).


Lavender is also a type of flowering evergreen plant. It has silver-green foliage and purple flowers. However, there are also hybrid species that have blue, pink, rose, white, and yellow flowers. 

Similarities Between Periwinkle & Lavender

Conditions for Growth 

Both periwinkles and lavenders grow best under full sun and in well-drained soil. They are a bit picky at the beginning, but once established, both periwinkle and lavender are low-maintenance. For either species, overwatering is a no-no. 

Types and Subspecies 

Both periwinkles and lavenders have many different types, which can differ in terms of origin, look, or use. 


Periwinkle Periwinkle vs Lavender 2
Periwinkle via pxfuel

There are more than 30 varieties of periwinkles. Here are the 5 most common: 

  1. Alba 

This type of periwinkle has extra small leaves and flowers. The blooms are white in color, as opposed to the commonly-known purple. 

  1. Atropurpurea

This is also referred to as “Wine Vinca”. It has large burgundy flowers that bloom sporadically between September. This is a vining type of periwinkle that can grow up to 12 inches wide. It is the go-to plant for shrub base as it is non-invasive. 

  1. Aureovariegata

This type of periwinkle has leaves with a yellow edge and blue flowers. Although it does not grow excessively or aggressively, it makes a good trailing flower. 

  1. Illumination

It has leaves with yellow areas in the center and green strips on the edges. It is a tall plant, growing up to a maximum of 30 feet. 

  1. Ralph Shugert

This type of periwinkle has leaves with white edges and sky blue flower petals. It is a very beautiful flower but cannot be grown without permission. 


  1. Spanish Lavender 

This type of lavender thrives in warm to hot climates, growing up to 2 feet in height. It has purple blooms that look somewhat like rabbit ears.

Spanish Lavender Periwinkle vs Lavender
Spanish Lavender via Flickr
  1. French Lavender

This is a type of drought-tolerant lavender. It needs little to no water but can grow up to 3 feet tall. It is not as sweet-smelling as other types of lavender but it does have a mild aroma.

  1. Egyptian Lavender

This type of lavender has a long stem and pale purple flowers. It can grow to be 3 feet tall during the spring and the summer. Despite its looks, it has a very pungent smell.

  1. Lavenite Petite Lavender

This type of lavender has a long stem with 6-inch long flower clusters. It only needs the sun to thrive and grow up to 3 feet tall.

  1. Munstead English Lavender

This type of lavender has a blue shade and a sweet smell. It is simple to maintain and can grow to 2 feet in height.

Toxicity and Poisoning 

Both periwinkles and lavenders have properties that make them poisonous or toxic to pets, particularly dogs and cats. 

Periwinkles contain alkaloids that can lead to severe health consequences, or death for pets when consumed. If you do not want your beloved buddy or feline friend to suffer from diarrhea, vomiting, and low blood pressure, you must keep him or her away from periwinkles at all times.

More serious symptoms include depression, hypotension, seizures, tremors, and incoordination. Your pet may even fall into a coma! 

Likewise, your pets can get lavender poisoning. Although the plant itself is not toxic, it contains linalyl acetate and linalool that becomes dangerous in large amounts. It can give your pets abdominal pain and a fever, reduce appetite, cause straining, among other unwanted consequences. 

3 Differences Between Periwinkle vs Lavender

Periwinkle Periwinkle vs Lavender 3
Periwinkle via Pxhere



  • Form: Most often grown as ground cover. Sometimes, they cascade from planters, window boxes, or the side of a building, like a curtain. They can also grow under trees and in shrubs. 
  • Leaves: Glossy, oblong leaves that are about 0.5 to 2 inches long with short petioles that, when broken, oozes a milky juice. 
  • Height: Grows to about 5 to 6 inches tall. The roots spread in different directions, arch, and trail outwards. 
  • Blooming Time: Typically blooms in early Spring around March or April, depending on the specific type or cultiva. 


  • Form: Generally planted as fields on mounds and sloped hills or valleys. They can also be potted. 
  • Leaves: Narrow and elongated leaves that are typically covered in tiny hairs. Some subspecies have serrated or toothed leaves. 
  • Height: Grows to about 1 to 3 feet tall. The roots can spread about 8 to 10 inches. They are not very deep either.  
  • Blooming Time: Usually blooms in late Spring around May or mid-June. 

Additional Uses


Periwinkles have medicinal benefits: 

  • Can be used for diarrhea and vaginal discharge
  • Can treat throat ailments and tonsillitis
  • Can help with chest pain, high blood pressure, and intestinal pain 
  • Can relieve a sore throat, swelling, and toothache

It also contains vincamine, which can be made into the compound vinpocetine, marketed as a dietary supplement.

However, you cannot DIY a medicine using periwinkles. Direct consumption can cause side effects, including nausea and stomach pain. It can also cause nerve, kidney, and/or liver damage if not used properly.


Lavender Periwinkle vs Lavender 2
via Pixino

Lavender is used extensively in soaps, perfumes, and oils. It has tons of benefits, including these 3 surprising ones: 

  1. Stop hair loss: You can counter hair loss by regularly massaging your scalp with lavender oil.
  2. Freshen your home: You probably have seen lavender-scented house cleaners. Instead of commercial ones, however, you can also make your own solution: 8 drops of lavender oil and ½ cup of baking soda in a spray bottle. Shake it to blend and spritz over the area that needs cleaning. Let it sit for a bit before wiping or vacuuming. It should kill all the odor-causing bacteria. 
  3. Relieve motion sickness: Distract yourself with the sweet smell of lavender and enjoy the smooth ride that you deserve!

>> Related Post: 10 Best Mosquito Repellent Plants to Ward Off Mosquitoes for Good



Periwinkle can be “attacked” by fungal diseases. Their leaves can get brown spots and shear off, while the stem suffers from wound-like lesions called cankers. Eventually, the plant as a whole wilts and disintegrates into the ground. 


Lavenders are susceptible to alfa mosaic virus. When it happens, the leaves turn yellow in patches and curl up. The virus can be spread by insects and gardeners’ hands, so batches of plants become infected very quickly. 

Lavenders are additionally affected by lavender shab, which is a disease caused by a fungus that kills the stems. The shoots can wilt suddenly and small black shapes called pycnidia appear on the bark. 



In general, periwinkles symbolize new, exciting beginnings and achievement of dreams. Hence, you can surely fibe periwinkles to someone who is engaging in a new venture, or someone who has recently conquered a big thing in life. More specificity, 

Periwinkles with white flowers are known for recalling beautiful memories and representing a permanent or long-lasting love. Light blue periwinkles symbolize purity and are used to mark the beginning of a friendship that you want to last.

When you give a friend periwinkles, you are telling them that you appreciate them being a part of your life. Other colored-periwinkles are typically gifted to cheer up loved ones. 


Lavenders stand for grace and calmness. At the same time, it is a symbol for purity and devotion. It is also associated with healing. After all, it is used for minor injuries in aromatherapy.

Lavender infusions soothe insect bites and burns, while lavender bunches repel insects. Lavender seeds and flowers aid with sleep and relaxation. That’s why you often see lavender flower heads in a bowl of water at spas.

Periwinkle vs Lavender: Which Suits You Better? 

Now that you have all the essential information on each flower, you can decide for yourself, the better flower. 

To make a final decision that you won’t regret, carefully consider why you need to pick a flower. Is it to plant in your garden? Is it to purchase at the floral shop for your loved one? When you have a clear idea, you cannot go wrong! 

For the former, consider what you want to see in your garden. For example, if you like taller plants and flowers, go for lavenders. If not, go for periwinkles. 

For the latter, consider what you want to send as a message to the receipt. For example, if you are sending flowers to a friend, get periwinkles; lavenders for a sick acquaintance! 


With that, you have reached the end of this article on periwinkle vs lavender. Did you enjoy it? Was there anything you found interesting? Comment your thoughts down below! We are always very happy to hear from our readers. 

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