By Amy Grant
Planting speedwell (Veronica officinalis) in the garden is a great way to enjoy long-lasting blooms throughout the summer season. These easy-care plants don’t require much upkeep once established, making them ideal for the busy gardener. Keep reading to learn more about growing speedwell flowers.
Veronica Speedwell Info
An easy to care for perennial with flowers in an array of vibrant blues, pinks and white, the speedwell is drought resistant but should be watered in the summer when there is less than an inch of rainfall per week. The plant has a long blooming season, from June to August, and is fairly pest and disease resistant as well, with the exception of some issues like powdery mildew, spider mites, and thrips.
Speedwell perennials are reportedly deer and rabbit resistant, but butterflies and hummingbirds are attracted to their dizzying hues. Flowers will bloom for 6-8 weeks throughout the summer months and, as a result, make beautiful cut flower additions to vase arrangements or for container gardening in mixed flower groupings.
Growing Speedwell Flowers
Veronica speedwell thrives in conditions as wide ranging as full sun to partial shade and in loamy, sandy or clay dense soils. However, it does prefer a sunny location with well draining soil. The soil pH can be as liberal as neutral, alkaline or acidic, with moisture content from average to quite moist.
The hardy medium sized speedwell, with striking 1-3 foot flower spikes, flourishes in USDA hardiness zones 3-8. As previously mentioned, the speedwell plant is tolerant of a variety of conditions but prefers full sun and well drained soil. Speedwell can be sown from seed; however, it is more commonly purchased from a nursery so planting speedwell in the garden can take place right away in spring.
Speedwell Plant Care
Speedwell plant care is relatively low maintenance. In order to facilitate maximum blooming, it is advisable to remove the faded spikes from Veronica speedwell and periodically divide the plant every few years in the early spring or fall.
The tallest speedwell specimens generally require staking, and in late autumn after the first frost, cut stems back to an inch or so above ground level.
Types of Veronica Speedwell
There are a number of varieties available in the speedwell family. Some of the more popular speedwell types are as follows:
- ‘First Love’, which has longer lasting blooms than other veronicas in a profusion of pink flowers.
- ‘Goodness Grows’ is a low growing plant, 6-12 inches tall with deep blue blossoms.
- Dark blue hued ‘Crater Lake Blue’ grows from 12 to 18 inches tall.
- ‘Sunny Border Blue’ is a taller 20 inch specimen with dark violet blue blooms.
- ‘Red Fox’ flowers pink on 12 inch spires.
- ‘Dick’s Wine’ is a low-growing ground cover about 9 inches tall with rose-colored blooms.
- ‘Royal Candles’ will grow to 18 inches tall with blue blooms.
- White ‘Icicle’ grows to 18 inches tall.
- ‘Sunny Blue Border’ is one of the tallest and can grow to 24 inches tall with light blue blooms.
Speedwell plants mix well with coreopsis, daylilies and yarrow, whose yellow tints enhance the blue hues of some cultivars and have similar growing requirements. All said, the showy speedwell is an excellent addition to any perennial garden.