Gardening secrets: How to Grow Veronica Plants in your garden
Veronica, also called Speedwell, is a carefree and easy-to-grow perennial with long spikes of small petals in purple, blue, pink, or white. Here’s how to grow veronica in your garden.
This attractive plant grows in clusters from 1 to 3 feet tall, and blooms from spring to autumn.
There is also a bushy ground cover variety (Veronica prostrata), which features dense clusters of flowers and grows to only about 10 inches tall.
When to plant:
Transplant during cooler months in spring or fall to avoid heat stress. Start seed indoors in late winter or early spring, 4 to 6 weeks prior to your last average frost-free date. Sow seeds directly outside in mid-late spring after all danger of frost is past.
Where to plant:
Choose a sunny site with rich, well-draining soil. Veronica can tolerate a range of soil conditions and is drought-tolerant once established. Planting in too much shade can result in fewer flowers.
How to plant:
Loosen the soil to the depth of the container and twice the diameter, and mix in compost. Remove the plant from the container and gently tease out the roots if potbound. Dig a hole and place the plant so the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface. Gently tamp down the soil around the base and water well. Spacing will vary from 10 to 20 inches depending on the variety. When growing from seed, press seeds gently into the soil but don’t cover, as the light will aid in germination. Keep moist until seeds germinate in approximately 14 to 21 days.
Pruning and maintenance:
For upright types, cut back spent flowers just below the spike to encourage rebloom. Taller varieties may need staking. All types can be divided in spring or fall every few years as needed, especially if dieback occurs at the center of the plant.
Most veronicas do best in amended, well-draining soil. They are tolerant of clay or sand, as well as neutral, alkaline, or acidic pH.
Amendments & fertilizer:
In spring, cover soil around the plant with a thin layer of compost, then add two inches of mulch to suppress weeds and conserve moisture. Avoid covering the crown of the plant with either compost or mulch.
Water once a week during summer, or more as needed during hot spells.
Diseases and pests:
When planted in the ideal site, veronica is resistant to most pests and diseases. If planted in too much shade, veronica can develop fungal diseases such as powdery mildew, rust, and leaf spot. Poor drainage can cause root rot. Insect problems include scale, spider mites, and thrips.