Speedwell: A Versatile and Beautiful Plant for Your Garden


Speedwell: A Versatile and Beautiful Plant for Your Garden

Speedwell, also known as Veronica, is a genus of flowering plants that includes about 500 species. Some of them are grown as ornamental plants for their attractive spikes of blue, pink, purple or white flowers. Others are considered weeds that can invade lawns and fields. Speedwell has a long history of use as a medicinal herb and a tea ingredient. In this article, you will learn more about the different types of speedwell, how to grow and care for them, and how to use them in your garden.

Types of Speedwell

Speedwell can be divided into two main groups: the perennial speedwells and the annual or biennial speedwells. The perennial speedwells are mostly low-growing plants that form clumps or mats of foliage and flowers. They are ideal for rock gardens, borders, ground covers or containers. The annual or biennial speedwells are taller plants that produce erect stems with terminal flower spikes. They are often used as cut flowers or in wildflower meadows.

Some of the most popular types of speedwell are:

  • Spiked speedwell (Veronica spicata): This is one of the most common and widely grown speedwells. It has narrow leaves and dense spikes of tubular flowers in shades of blue, purple, pink or white. It grows up to 3 feet tall and blooms from spring to autumn. It prefers full sun and well-drained soil.
  • Creeping speedwell (Veronica prostrata): This is a low-growing speedwell that forms a carpet of small leaves and blue flowers. It grows up to 10 inches tall and spreads by runners. It is a good ground cover for sunny areas with dry soil.
  • Corn speedwell (Veronica arvensis): This is an annual or biennial speedwell that grows up to 18 inches tall. It has hairy stems and leaves and small blue flowers with white centers. It is often found as a weed in fields and gardens.
  • Persian speedwell (Veronica persica): This is another annual or biennial speedwell that grows up to 12 inches tall. It has smooth stems and leaves and larger blue flowers with white eyes. It is also a common weed in many areas.
  • Ivy leaf speedwell (Veronica hederifolia): This is a trailing speedwell that has ivy-shaped leaves and blue or white flowers. It grows up to 6 inches tall and spreads by runners. It is often used as a ground cover in shady areas.
  • Germander speedwell (Veronica chamaedrys): This is a perennial speedwell that grows up to 18 inches tall. It has heart-shaped leaves and bright blue flowers with white centers. It likes moist soil and partial shade.

How to Grow Speedwell


Types of Speedwell

Speedwell is easy to grow from seeds or transplants. You can sow seeds indoors in late winter or early spring, or outdoors after the last frost. Transplant seedlings or nursery plants in spring or autumn, spacing them 12 to 18 inches apart depending on the variety. Choose a site with full sun or partial shade and well-drained soil. Water regularly until the plants are established, then reduce watering to once a week or less. Fertilize once or twice a year with a balanced organic fertilizer.

How to Care for Speedwell


How to Grow Speedwell

Speedwell requires little maintenance once it is established. Deadhead the spent flowers to encourage more blooming and prevent self-seeding. Cut back the foliage after flowering to keep the plants tidy and healthy. Divide clump-forming varieties every few years in spring or autumn to rejuvenate them and prevent overcrowding. Watch out for pests such as scale insects, aphids and spider mites, and diseases such as powdery mildew, rust and root rot. Control them with organic methods such as pruning, spraying with water or neem oil, or applying fungicides.

How to Use Speedwell in Your Garden


How to Care for Speedwell

Speedwell is a versatile plant that can add color, texture and interest to your garden. You can use it as a border plant

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