Veronica spicata, the scientific name for the ornamental perennial Speedwell, is a long-blooming plant with a bushy base of dark green foliage. It sends up long spikes of flowers in all shades of pink, purple, blue and white in summer. The flowers have the same impact Lavender flowers do in the garden, but can be grown in zones where Lavender is too tender. Planting Speedwell is a very easy task that any gardener can perform. Well-planted perennials will produce flowers and foliage for many years.
What You Need To Plant Speedwell
- Position in the garden in full sun or part-day shade
- Shovel or transplanting spade
- Watering can
- Mulch of arborist chips, finely shredded bark, leaves or organic compost
Where to Plant Speedwell
Speedwell prefers to grow in full sun and well-draining soil. The soil can be anything from clay to sandy loam, as long as it drains well. The planting depth needs to be as deep as the pot it was grown in. Any soil that is shallow will not provide enough space for the root ball to develop and spread. Roots that grow deeper in the ground are able to withstand periods of drought and heat much easier than shallowly grown roots.
Speedwell is typically a nice compact grower that does not require much staking or support for the flower spikes. Growing this plant in full sun will encourage sturdy stems that grow straight up instead of leaning and searching for the sun. Some Speedwell varieties spread by both underground rhizomes and self-seeding. There are quite a few that have sterile seeds, so they do not spread as freely or quickly. This type of Speedwell is easy to propagate by division.
Spacing of the plants will depend on the overall spread of each variety. A plant that spreads to 3 feet wide will need to be planted 3 feet on center from the next plant. The root systems of Speedwell are far shallower than a shrub or tree and will not disturb foundations or driveways if planted next to them.
Steps To Plant Speedwell
Step 1 - Choose a location with full sun or partial shade during the day
Step 2 - Dig a hole that is the same depth and twice the width of the root ball
Step 3 - Gently take the plant out of the pot without disturbing the root ball
Step 4 - Gently tease apart any roots that seem to be pot bound, circling the pot
Step 5 - Place the plant in the hole at the same depth it was growing at in the pot
Step 6 - Gently firm the soil back around the root ball and fill in the hole, making sure there are no big air gaps
Step 7 - Water the plant in well, soaking the root zone and settling in any air gaps
Step 8 - After the water has soaked in, mulch around the base of the plant with an organic mulch
When to Plant Speedwell
Speedwell that is grown in a pot can be planted successfully any time of the year. Spring is the time of year that Speedwell is typically available in the nurseries. Consistent watering the first season is key to establishing Speedwell and growing a strong plant. Seed grown Speedwell should be planted in the fall. They will bloom more reliably if planted after a period of growing in a pot.
Speedwell is easily divided after a couple of years of growth. Every 3-4 years is the right time to dig up Speedwell and divide clumps. Dividing on a regular basis will reinvigorate Speedwell to keep blooming and multiplying. The center of the plant will die out as new plants form around the outside edges of the clump. Divide up all of the new vigorous plants and compost the dead center plant. The best time of year to divide is early in the spring when the soil can be worked or late in the summer as the weather starts to cool for fall. Make sure to water the new plants well.