Vines do more than add beauty to a garden or landscape. There are some vines that prevent soil erosion and enhance the soil. Among them are vinca minor, English ivy, pachysandra procumbens and partridgeberry.
Over time this evergreen plant, also known as periwinkle, creates dense carpets of flowers and leaves from multi-directional runners that root into the soil and keep it from eroding. It spreads especially quickly in soil that is well-drained, moist and rich and thrives more in partial shade than it does in full sunlight. In spring periwinkle produces masses of lilac-blue flowers that keep blooming well into the summer.
English ivy is a woody vine that can grow as small as 6 inches or as tall as 90 feet as it muffles the sides of buildings, arbors and pergolas. It is grown almost exclusively for its foliage, and many people have never seen ivy flowers or fruit. Like vinca minor, it does well in deep shad,e and its roots are deep enough to prevent erosion on the banks of rivers and streams.
This spreading plant creates dense carpets of leaves beneath trees and shrubs. P. procumbens, also called Allegheny pachysandra, grows six to 12 inches tall and spreads 12 inches wide. Its leaves are evergreen in warmer climates and provide interest with their purple or gray mottling on blue green background. The flowers, borne on spikes in the spring, are white or pink. It too is shade-loving, and its roots prevent erosion.
This is a trailing vine with fragrant, white, tube-shaped flowers that arrive in June to July. It too loves shade, grows in acidic soil and sends its root deep enough into the soil to keep it stable on hills and banks. The flowers eventually give way to a red, edible fruit that is suppose to be favored by partridges, other gamefowl and some small mammals.