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Veronica (ver-ON-ih-cuh)

Common Name:  Speedwell

Light:  - Full sun to part sun

Soil:  Average to rich, well-drained

Moisture:  Slightly dry

Blooms:  Summer

Zones:  (3) 4 - 8


Veronica p. 'Aztec Gold' PP#13354

Veronica 'Eveline' PP#14888

Veronica Description and Cultural Information

There are many different species and cultivars of Veronica which can be upright, like the spike speedwell with which most people are familiar, or they can be low growing or even creeping. They all have similar leaf and flower structure but the upright varieties have flower spikes at the terminals and the creepers have flower spikes at the leaf axils.

Veronica alpina, alpine speedwell. 4 - 8". This creeping veronica has oval leaves and terminal spikes of tiny dark blue flowers. 'Alba' has white flowers. 'Goodness Grows' is a long blooming hybrid with blue flowers. Zones 3 - 8.

Veronica austriaca subsp. teucrium, speedwell. 6 - 20". This is a semi-upright speedwell forming dense clumps of creeping foliage with spikes of blue flowers. Often listed as V. teucrium or V. latifolia, this group includes plants such as 'Blue Fountain' with 2' high spikes of light blue flowers, 'Aurea' with golden foliage and light blue flowers on 12" spikes, and 'Crater Lake Blue' with ultramarine blue flowers on 12 - 15" spikes. Zones 4 - 8.

Veronica grandis, speedwell. 18 - 24". This species is similar to V. spicata but with broader, slightly heart-shaped leaves. 'Blue Charm' has tall stems with spikes of lavender-blue flowers. Zones 4 - 8.

Veronica incana, woolly speedwell. 12 - 18". Woolly speedwell has white, woolly leaves that contrast nicely with pale blue flowers. 'Rosea' has pink flowers. 'Wendy' has lavender-blue flowers but greener leaves. A white form also exists, but the flowers may blend too much with the foliage. Zones 3 - 7.

Veronica longifolia, long-leaved speedwell. 2 - 4'. This speedwell has strong upright stems and 12" spikes of bright blue flowers. This species has been used in many hybrids. 'Sunny Border Blue' is a hybrid with dark green foliage and long-blooming, dark, violet-blue flower spikes. 'Sunny Border Blue' can sometimes develop leaf spot on the lower foliage, which is best prevented by giving it good soil with good drainage. Zones 4 - 8.

Veronica prostrata, speedwell. 6". This veronica has creeping foliage and clusters of tiny blue flowers at the leaf axils. 'Heavenly Blue' has sapphire-blue flowers. 'Trehane' has golden foliage and deep-blue flowers in May. 'Aztec Gold' PP#13354 has bright yellow foliage and lavender-blue flowers. Zones 4 - 8.

Veronica repens, creeping speedwell. 4 - 6". This spreading veronica hugs the ground and is covered with tiny blue flowers in June and July. 'Sunshine' has chartreuse-gold leaves and bluish-purple flowers. 'Waterperry Blue' has shiny, deep green foliage and sky-blue flowers. Zones 5 - 8.

Veronica spicata, spike speedwell. 12 - 24". This slow spreading veronica has many spikes of white, pink or blue flowers in summer. 'Red Fox' has rose-pink flowers. 'Blue Fox' has lavender-blue flowers. 'Icicle' has long-blooming white flowers. 'Noah Williams' has creamy white variegated foliage with white flowers. Hybrids with V. incana include 'Barcarolle' and 'Minuet', two pink varieties with slightly woolly, gray-green foliage. Zones 3 - 7.

How to Grow:  Plant veronica in any average to rich, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade, planting with the top of the crown slightly below soil level. V. incana and some cultivars like 'Giles van Hees' need very good drainage, especially in winter. Plants can be divided in spring or fall to propagate or control their spread. Some plants may be susceptible to black spot and other fungus, and if this occurs it is best to cut down and destroy the foliage in the fall and treat with a fungicide.

Landscape uses:  Veronicas are great summer perennials, plus varieties with golden foliage can add a colorful touch all season long. Plant the creeping varieties along borders or in rock gardens. The upright forms are good for the front, middle, or back of the border, depending on their height. Combine them with hardy geranium, baby's breath (Gypsophila), lamb's ear (Stachys), artemisia, red valerian (Centranthus), Echinacea, shasta daisies, Rudbeckia, lilies, and daylilies.

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