Speedwell is an herbaceous perennial that goes completely dormant through the winter; it is an exceptionally hardy and low maintenance plant. There are some annual maintenance jobs that will ensure that Speedwell makes it through the winter successfully regardless of your hardiness zone.
Protecting Speedwell in Winter
The most important consideration in caring for Speedwell over the winter is ensuring that drainage remains excellent. Garden beds that are seemingly well drained in the summer might become boggy spots that hold water much too long if you live in a climate with heavy winter rains. If you notice your plant is sitting in water, do not be afraid to dig it up and temporarily keep it in a pot for the rest of the winter until the drainage issue can be resolved. In colder growing zones where snow accumulation is heavy, a mulch of leaves or arborist chips in the fall will help to further insulate the plants.
Cutting Back Speedwell For Winter
Pruning should be done either in the fall or early in the spring, depending on your hardiness zone. At the lower end of its growing range, you should cut back the top growth as it begins to die back in the fall. Cut down foliage on stems to within 2 inches of the soil. Protect the growth crown by mulching well with leaves or organic compost. Make sure to remove any mulch from the top of the plant early in the spring, allowing room for new growth.
Speedwell acts more like a semi-evergreen perennial in the warmer hardiness zones. The top growth will remain through the winter, even though the plant is dormant. This top growth protects the crown from excess rains or winds. Cut back the spent foliage and stems early in the spring so that new growth can emerge.
Speedwell Winter Care in Pots
Containers need to be monitored for drainage in the winter. Move a pot that is getting too much rain or excess water from gutter downspouts. Pots that are sitting in water on patios and are too big to move can be raised up using bricks or ‘pot feet’ to keep the drainage holes clear and open. Choose a pot material that is appropriate for your climate. Terracotta is more susceptible to cracking and breaking in colder climates than plastic or resin containers.
Speedwell does not need to be brought into an unheated garage or greenhouse over the winter; exposure to a cold period is required for its dormancy.
Watering Speedwell in Winter
Supplemental watering is rarely needed over the winter. The main problem is over-watering and root rot. Make sure to monitor drainage even if Speedwell is planted in the ground.
Growing Speedwell Indoors
Speedwell should not be grown indoors. This plant needs a period of cold and dormancy to continue to grow and bloom vigorously the next year.
Steps To Care For Speedwell in Winter
Caring for Speedwell over the winter is easy. The plant is dormant and should rest until the following spring.
Step 1 - Colder growing zones should cut back top growth to within 2 inches of the soil and mulch well in the fall
Step 2 - Warmer growing zones can wait until spring to clean up the dead foliage and stems Step 3 - Monitor drainage all winter for both ground and container plantings
Step 4 - Remove any mulch from the plant's crown early in the spring to promote new growth
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Author Robbin Small - Published 7-22-2022