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August 2010
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Speedwell (Veronica) – also known as creeping speedwell

Speedwell plants are also known as Veronica or creeping speedwell. They are perennials and have flowers which are blue-violet in color. They are generally easy to grow and mix well in most gardens. Veronica grows in zones 3-8. They flower well in full sun but can grow even in partial shade. They are drought tolerant. They grow well in well-drained soils. In warmer climates, they are evergreens. They are popular because they remain in bloom or long periods of time. Speedwell plants are have low maintenance and hence ideal as a houseplant.
Taller veronica may require staking or grow them near stiff upright plants, such as Bearded Iris. The flowering repeats later in the season with deadhead flowers after blooming. Veronica’s plants require a shearing down to the basal growth at the end of flowering, as well. Speedwell or Veronica attracts butterflies and bees into the garden. It self-sows freely. To avoid overgrowing cut off the old flowers before the seeds spread.

Growing conditions of Speedwell or Veronica

• Start planting in early fall or early spring.
• The long folia are hardy in zones 4a to 8b.
• Plant your seeds in a sunny area of the garden.
• Speedwell requires a full day of sun.
• Rake the planting s area enough to rough up the soil.
• Sow the seeds on the surface and cover with a one-fourth inch layer of soil.
• Plant the seeds 6 inches apart for smaller varieties of speedwell.
• Plant the seeds 12 to 15 inches apart for the larger speedwell varieties.
• Water the area with the fine mist so that seeds don’t get washed away.
• Keep the area moist, but not soggy, until the seeds sprout.
• After germination, allow the soil to dry out to within 1 inch of the surface before watering.

Care of Speedwell Plants

• Veronica does require digging and dividing approximately every third year.
• An indication of this plant requiring digging and dividing is when they flop, creating an open space in the
• Centre.
Planting area should have good drainage and is rich in nutrients.
• Plant in full or partial sun.
• Work the soil 6 inches deep.
• Planting speedwell in a raised bed (say of about 4 inches) will increase soil drainage and reduce the chance of the plant dying in the cold of winter.
• Water the plants well for first few days.
• For very healthy plants and increased spike sizes, you can fertilize with cow manure and 5-10-10 fertilizers immediately after planting.
• Divide your speedwell plant every three or four years.
• Deadhead the flowers after blooming to encourage repeat flowering.
• Before the first frost, apply pine boughs or a layer of straw to protect the plants.
• Remember to remove these coverings in the spring after the danger of frost is past.

Some images at this location.

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