Veronica (Speedwell)

Pollinator-friendly flowers for summer sun

Veronica is a genus that contains herbaceous perennials and subshrubs, commonly called speedwells, that bloom from spring to early autumn, depending on cultivar. Speedwells come in two different forms: the creeping rhizomatous form is a low-growing ground cover that reaches only about 10 inches tall but spreads to form a dense mat of foliage and blooms in clusters of showy small single flowers; the erect clumping form has an upright habit, growing between 1 and 3 feet tall, and blooms in small flowers on spikey wands that open from the bottom up. The flowers are available in blue, violet-blue, pink, purple, or white. They make lovely cuts for arrangements, but left in the garden, the pollen- and nectar-rich flowers sustain bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.

V. longifolia (long-leaf speedwell), V. officinalis (common speedwell), V. prostrata (prostrate speedwell), V. repens (creeping speedwell), and V. spicata (spike speedwell) are popular species, but many cultivars and hybrids are available for use in home gardens. Speedwells are perfect for cottage gardens, cutting gardens, pollinator gardens, and rock gardens and are shown to best effect when massed or grouped. They are great border and bedding plants, but they’re also nice container plants, especially the small varieties.

Speedwells grow and flower best in sunny locations with rich loam that’s evenly moist but well draining, especially in winter. Plants will tolerate light shade but will not tolerate soggy soil. Easy to grow, speedwells tend to be cold hardy and drought tolerant as well as disease, pest, and deer resistant. Sited properly, speedwells will grace the garden for many years.