There are over 500 different species in the genus, varying in sizes and types. While veronicas are known for their flower spikes, some have loose clusters of saucer-shaped flowers. Plants can be herbaceous annuals, perennials or small shrubs. They can grow to be 4 to 48 inches tall.
The plant can be sometimes be confused with skullcap and other members of the mint family, as the leaves are similar looking. To differentiate the two, look at the stems. Members of the mint family will have square-sided stems, while Veronica plants have rounded stems.
Veronicas are quite easy to grow, reliable and long lasting. They can tolerate most soil conditions, as long as it is well-drained. Plant in the spring for early summer flowering; the flowers will bloom until fall. Regular deadheading can also extend the blooming period. Tall varieties should be staked.
Water regularly. Powdery mildew is sometimes a problem, but a moist site can help prevent the disease. Adding mulch and compost will help keep the soil moist. Plant in full sun or partial shade. They look the most attractive planted in groups. The taller varieties are ideal as borders and can also be used in rock gardens. Low growing plants can be used as borders or as ground covers.
Moreover, veronicas can be used as cut flowers; the long-stemmed Veronica “Sunny Blue Border” would be an excellent choice.
Climate Zones: 3-11
Fun Flower Facts about Veronica (Speedwell):
- Other common names: bird’s eye, gypsyweed
- Veronica americana is edible and nutritious; it has a watercress-like flavour
- In Ireland, some people pin Veronica plants on their clothes to keep travelers safe from accidents.
- Native Americans used the plant to relieve asthma and allergy congestion