Planting Speedwell (Veronica officinalis) in the garden is a great way to enjoy long-lasting blooms throughout the summer season. These easy-care plants don't require much upkeep once established, making them ideal for the busy gardener.
An easy to care for perennial with flowers in an array of vibrant blues, pinks, and white, the Speedwell is drought resistant but should be watered in the summer when there is less than an inch of rainfall per week. The plant has a long blooming season, from June to August, and is fairly pest and disease resistant as well, with the exception of some issues like powdery mildew, spider mites, and thrips.
Speedwell perennials are reportedly deer and rabbit resistant, but butterflies and hummingbirds are attracted to their dizzying hues. Flowers will bloom for six to eight weeks throughout the summer months and, as a result, make beautiful cut flower additions to vase arrangements or for container gardening in mixed flower groupings.
Speedwell thrives in conditions as wide-ranging as full sun to partial shade and in loamy, sandy, or clay dense soils. However, it does prefer a sunny location with well-draining soil. The soil pH can be as liberal as neutral, alkaline, or acidic, with moisture content from average to quite moist.
The hardy, medium-sized plant, with striking, 1 to 3 foot (30 to 90 cm) long flower spikes, flourishes in USDA hardiness zones 3-8. The Speedwell is tolerant of a variety of conditions but prefers full sun and well-drained soil.
Speedwell can be sown from seed; however, it is more commonly purchased from a nursery, so planting it in the garden can take place right away in spring.
Speedwell plant care is relatively low maintenance. In order to facilitate maximum blooming, it is advisable to remove the faded spikes from Speedwell and periodically divide the plant every few years in the early spring or fall.
The tallest Speedwell specimens generally require staking, and in late autumn after the first frost, cut stems back to an inch or so above ground level.