Veronica graces the garden with spires of flowers that bloom spring through fall, depending on species, with some reblooming for an extended show. Also known as speedwell, this easy-to-grow perennial is available in many different sizes and colors, even shades of blue.
With their colorful, blooming spikes, veronica can brighten any full-sun garden and add texture with their flowers. Many of the spring-blooming types form mats of low-growing flowers. Some grow above silver foliage that contrasts with the rich blue flowers. Summer blooming types are often taller and are more generous rebloomers. The taller species have a broad spectrum of bloom colors, including pinks, purples, blues, and white.
Veronica Care Must-Knows
These versatile plants tolerate a variety of conditions. For best results, veronica prefers a well-drained, loamy soil with organic matter. Once established veronica can be quite tolerant of drought and need little supplemental watering. During peak bloom, they will appreciate some water if it has been exceptionally dry. There are even some species of veronica grow well in rock gardens. These types are usually lower growing but do well in dry conditions.
Plant veronica in full sun for best results. When planted in less than full sun, veronica can be susceptible to foliar diseases like powdery mildew and leaf spot. The best solution for these problems is prevention.
Related: How to Control Powdery Mildew
To care for this low-maintenance perennial, trim spent blooms back just below the blooms to encourage a second flush of flowers. Many of the tall species have branched flowers. If you cut these too low, you may sacrifice oncoming blooms. As plants mature, they can benefit from division. This is particularly helpful for mat-forming types, which can die out in the middle.
New Types of Veronica
Plant scientists are working to improve disease resistance and reblooming potential that would further extend the season. There are some new varieties that are more novelty than anything, with flower heads that are short and branched, creating clusters that are almost ball shaped. You will also find lovely gold and silver foliage available to add more interest in the garden.
More Varieties of Veronica
This variety of Veronica, a late spring bloomer, forms a low mat of rich blue flowers that will occasionally re-bloom throughout the season. Zones 6-8
Veronica austriaca 'Crater Lake Blue' bears deep blue flowers in early summer on 18-inch-tall plants. Zones 6-8
This Veronica selection develops large mats of toothed purple-tinged foliage. Racemes of small saucer-shaped white-eyed deep blue flowers bloom from early spring into summer. It grows 12 inches tall and is hardy in Zones 6-8.
Veronica 'Giles Van Hees' has lance-shaped foliage and dense spikes of bright pink flowers in summer. It grows 6 inches tall and is hardy in Zones 4-8.
Veronica 'Purpleicious' shows off rich lavender-purple flowers throughout the summer and into fall. It grows 2 feet tall. Zones 4-8
This selection of Veronica is one of the best upright veronicas for sunny gardens. With glossy, dark green crumpled leaves and 7-inch-long spires of violet flowers from early summer on, it is outstanding. It grows to 2 feet tall and is hardy in Zones 4-8.
Veronica Companion Plants
One of the longest bloomers in the garden, coreopsis produces (usually) sunny yellow daisylike flowers that attract butterflies. Coreopsis, depending on the variety, also bears golden-yellow, pale yellow, pink, or bicolor flowers. It will bloom from early to midsummer or longer as long as it's deadheaded.
Lady's mantle looks great in the garden and in a vase. Its scalloped leaves catch rain or drewdrops, making them look dusted with jewels. The chartreuse flowers appear in playful, frothy clusters above the foliage. Lady's mantle is ideal for softening the edge of a shaded path or creating a groundcover in dappled shade.
There are hundreds of different types of salvias, commonly called sage, but they all tend to share beautiful, tall flower spikes and attractive, often gray-green leaves. Countless sages (including the herb used in cooking) are available to decorate ornamental gardens, and new selections appear annually. They are valued for their very long season of bloom, right up until frost. Not all not hardy in cold climates, but they are easy to grow as annuals. On square stems, clothed with often-aromatic leaves, sages carry dense or loose spires of tubular flowers in bright blues, violets, yellow, pinks, and red that mix well with other perennials in beds and borders. Provide full sun or very light shade, in well-drained average soil.