Speedwell – plant’s origins, appearance, and natural habitat
Speedwell, or Veronica is a plant from the plantain family. There are over 200 speedwell varieties. It’s a perennial that grows naturally almost everywhere in the European continent. It also appears in Asia, but only in areas of mild climate.
Depending on the variety, speedwell can grow from 10 to even 200 cm (0.3-6.6 ft) tall. Hard stems are its characteristic feature. They get covered with many small, thickly spread flowers during the blooming season. Certain veronica varieties differ not only in height, but also blooming period time.
A flowerbed containing several types of speedwells amazes through the entire season. Note that the plant has shielding properties.
Veronica plant – most popular varieties grown in gardens
As mentioned, there are nearly 200 different speedwell varieties. Every country has different dominating type of this plant. Nonetheless, certain varieties are the most popular among people growing these plants. They are, for instance:
- Veronica spicata – the plant reaches a few dozens in height, its leaves are characteristic – with serrated edges; it’s highly frost-resistant, grows best in full sun,
- Veronica gentianoides – a plant growing up to 30-60 cm (1-2 ft), it has thick, dark green leaves; the variety spreads and ages quickly,
- Veronica prostrata – creeping type of speedwell, its branches might reach 30 cm (1 ft) in length, it’s a perfect rock garden plant,
- Veronica longifolia – can grow up to 1 m (3.3 ft) tall, has impressive and long clusters of flowers, the plant requires changing its soil or replanting every 3 years.
Speedwell – location and cultivation
Speedwell is an undemanding plant that can grow in sun, as well as in half-shade. If you decide to cultivate tall veronica varieties, make sure the soil is rich in hummus and moist.
Short speedwell plants prefer dry, sandy and permeable soils. All varieties are highly resistant to frost. Regardless, if the temperatures drop rapidly, make sure to add another layer of mulch, especially if the plants are young – one and two years old. The plant can also be secured using a thick layer of agrotextile.
Do you have to fertilize speedwells regularly?
Veronica is a plant with little needs as for extra feeding. But note that it’s a blooming plant. If you want to support its growth, you can use fertilizing products, but remember that you can do it after 3-4 years from planting speedwells.
In addition to the standard feeding process, you can apply extra doses of fertilizer if you notice a significant drop in the quality of blooming.
In summer, use mineral fertilizers. During fall and spring, you can aid the plant by spreading a layer of compost. Natural, homemade mixtures are a good option as well. Nettle slurry is a perfect example.
How frequently do you water speedwells?
Speedwell is a plant that requires watering, especially in summer. Just a few days of drought might worsen its condition, so make sure the soil is always moderately moist – but not overwatered.
If the days are hot and sunny, remember that plants have to be watered early in the morning or late in the evening. Thanks to this, the water supplying the roots won’t get overheated.
When do you plant veronica flowers?
Speedwell is a perennial, which means it can be planted the whole year round. But if you want the best results, schedule planting for mid-May. When planting speedwells, make sure to keep enough space between them. Place a maximum of 4-5 plants per one square meter (10.7 square feet). The best spacing is about 30-40 cm (1-1.3 ft).
Do you need to prune speedwells?
Veronica plant requires regular control and deadheading flowers that finished blooming. Note that a plant that was trimmed in summer by 1/3 of its height, can bloom again in the same year.
In fall, make sure to cut the plants and leave only the length of 10 cm for winter.
Precious health benefits of speedwell
Speedwell is considered a diuretic plant. Also, if processed properly, it can improve digestion and general health of the intestines. Because of its properties, it’s commonly used as a remedy that is supposed to remove toxins from the organism. Veronica is also valued for its ability to reduce bad cholesterol.
The plant has the following properties:
Speedwell is also recommended to people performing intellectual work. Not only it improves concentration, but also has a positive impact on nervous system, and is soothing. Drinking a tea 2-3 times per week enhances general well-being of the entire organism.
How to propagate veronica plants?
The plant can be propagated using one of the three most common methods. The first one involves planting the seeds. Speedwell seeds have to be planted directly in the ground in spring or fall. They don’t need high temperatures to grow, so they should sprout after just two weeks.
Using a cutting is another method. Retrieve a cutting from a short variety between August and September. If you’re propagating taller variety, cut them between April and May.
- The cutting should be at least 10 cm (3.9 in) long.
- Remove any leaves from the bottom and dip the stem in a rooting hormone.
- After placing in a seedbed – the cuttings need from 20 to 30 days to take root. After this time, you can safely plant them in the ground.
A plant propagated this way needs protection during its first winter.
The third method involves dividing the plant, which can be done in spring or when the plant finishes blooming. Dig the veronica plant out, divide it into parts and plant it again. Water the new plants excessively.
Speedwell – potential diseases and pests
Gardeners value speedwell for its high resistance to diseases and pests. Sometimes, the plant might get attacked by aphids. But these insects can be easily eliminated using special products. The bugs disappear after a single application of the insecticide.
The plant is also prone to powdery mildew. But also in this case, you can easily get rid of the unwanted guest. Special products eliminate the problem effectively.
As for other diseases, they usually result from incorrect care. For instance, grey mold might appear if speedwells are watered too excessively, especially during strong heat waves.
📍 What does veronica plant look like?
Veronica, or speedwell is a characteristic plant that can be from 20 to 200 cm (0.7-6.6 ft) tall – depending on the variety. The flowers are very small, growing in clusters. The blooming time differs, depending on the type of the perennial and conditions provided. The plant is frequently planted nearby rock gardens.
📍 What is speedwell good for?
Corn speedwell has valuable properties. It helps with cough and expands bronchial tubes. Other garden varieties are antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. Tea made from the plant often helps with stomach and skin issues.
📍 When does speedwell bloom?
Tall varieties of veronica plant blooms from July to September. Short varieties develop flowers between May and August. Sometimes, if the plant is provided with good conditions and trimmed correctly, it can bloom twice in the same year. But it requires a lot of gardener's attention.
📍 When to trim speedwell?
The plant should be trimmed in summer. Thanks to this, you can expect it to bloom again. Another cut before winter is essential – leave 10 cm (0.3 ft) of the stem's length and protect the plant using agrotextile.