Veronica, often called Speedwell is a garden standby if ever there was one. The unassuming flower spikes just keep on coming. The name “Veronica” comes from St. Veronica, who is said to have wiped the tears from the face of Jesus as he marched to Calvary.
Size - You can find three groups. (Veronica spicata) is called Spiked Speedwell which is a low mounding plant with spikes that flop over when they get too tall. There is (Veronica austriaca) which is called “Hungarian Speedwell, which grows a clump that is 6 to 24 inches tall and spreads 12 to 24 inches. Then there is (Veronica prostrate) which is called Prostrate Speedwell, a low-growing, spreading plant. It grows 6 inches tall and spreads out to 16 inches.
Foliage - Glossy leaves of rich green, sometimes on the gray-green side..
Flowers - Blooming in June and July, Veroncia blooms for an unusually long time for a perennial. The flowers come in blue, pink, or white spikes.
‘Blue Bouquet produces scads of bright lavender blue spikes on strong branching stems with no sign of flopping.
‘Red Fox’ is rose colored
‘Goodness Grows’ violet blue, flowers generously until fall; procumbent habit.
‘Blue Spires’ good lustrous leaves
‘Icicle’ is white
‘Sunny Border Blue’, a hybrid, was the 1993 Perennial Plant Association Plant of the Year. long-blooming in deep blue-violet.
Use Veronica in front of a flower border or in a rock garden. This plant attracts butteflies.
Veronica makes an excellent cut flower. For more information see the files on Keeping Cut Flowers and Cut Flower Supplies
Veronica is happy in Zones 3 to 8. It likes full sun in well drained soil, but will tolerate some shade but the stems may flop a bit in that environment. Plant divisions in either spring or fall. Transplant garden center potted plants anytime during the growing season. Choose an overcast day or plant in the evening to minimize stress from the sun on the transplant.
Prepare the soil down 8 inches and mix in a little granular, slow-acting fertilizer. Add some organic matter to improve soil drainage if necessary. Dig a planting hole about as deep and slightly wider than the plant rootball when it is removed from the pot. Be sure the top of the rootball is level with the surrounding soil when it is set in the hole. Fill in the hole with soil, firming it gently around plant stems to remove air pockets and water well. Set plants about 18 inches to 2 feet apart to allow for their gradual spread.
Care of Veronica
Veronicas thrive with benign neglect.
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Pruning/Grooming Veronica – If you cut off spent spikes, the plant will regenerate more. Young plants may bloom all summer with faithful deadheading. Shear low growing types back to foliage growing on soil after second flush of bloom. The taller types of Veronica can be made more compact by cutting off stems in June about 6 inches. That delays bloom a bit, but plants are neater.
Propagating Veronica - Divide Veronica every 3 or 4 years as plants outgrow their allotted space. This gives you new plants and helps to maintain plant vigor for the ones that are left.
Problems of Veronica
Sometimes lower foliage blackens and dies during the season from fungal disease. It usually disappears when dry weather returns. The fungal disease mildew can occasionally show up. For solutions see the file Controlling Fungal Disease
Aphids and Scale can sometimes be a problem.