Great Design Plant: Veronica

Veronica is a huge genus of herbacious perennials that has something for everybody — multiple flower colours, multiple foliage textures along with a variety of forms. Whether you need a vertical accent in cool white or a durable, evergreen ground cover, Veronica, or speedwell, might be just the ticket.

Botanical name: Veronica spp
Common title: Speedwell
Resource: Europe, Eurasia and North America
USDA zones: 4 to 11, depending on species (find your zone)
Elevation range: Up to 8,500 feet for several species
Water necessity: Moist to dry, depending on species. Those native to the Mediterranean — such as silver speedwell (Veronica incana), woolly speedwell (Veronica pectinata) and Turkish speedwell (Veronica liwanensis) — are very drought tolerant.
Light requirement: Sun to light shade
Mature size: From two to 24 inches tall
Benefits and tolerances: Appealing to birds and butterflies; bull resistant; very floriferous when in bloom; possibly tall spikes — such as Veronica spicata ‘Icicle’ — or low, dense mats feature light blue to blue-purple, pink or white flowers.
When to plant: Spring to drop
Seasonal attention: Blooms in spring and summer into early fall, depending on the species; regular deadheading may promote reblooming; many of those low-growing, ground cover speedwells have evergreen foliage.

Shown: Turkish speedwell (Veronica liwanensis)

Missouri Botanical Garden

Distinguishing traits. Plants in this genus are either vertical and shrublike or low, spreading mats. A scalloped border is frequently featured by their foliage. The leaves might be glistening soft or green and gray, arranged in a whorl on the stem, including textural interest to the backyard.

Shown: White spike speedwell (Veronica spicata ‘Icicle’)


How to use it. Taller varieties of speedwell, such as Veronica spicata or V. austriaca ‘Crater Lake Blue’ appear beautiful in a mixed border. Publish them with grasslike foliage plants — daylilies, red hot poker, spiderwort (Tradescantia spp) etc. — or crops with large foliage, such as sea ginseng (Crambe spp), mullein (Verbascum spp) or Lady’s mantle (Alchemilla mollis).

Shown: Catsfoot in the foreground, purple flowering stone cress and blue flowering speedwell

Vintage Nursery & Landscape Co. asla, / Alan Burke

Plant low-growing speedwells as a ground cover in a border or flowing between boulders in a rock garden.

Planting notes. Speedwell is easily grown in ordinary garden soil that is well drained.

Shown: Dark blue spike speedwell (Veronica spicata ‘Royal Candles’), blue star creeper, tall sedum and annual geranium (pink flowers)

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