Veronica Longifolia ~ Speedwell
February 1, 2010
Veronica can be a workhouse in the cut flower garden; it will provide a full second crop of stems if cut down completely to the ground after the first harvest. Veronica is a spiky or linear type flower that provides movement, action, or life to an arrangement, and is long lasting in the vase. Available in blue, purple, pink, or white, I have found the blue and purple varieties to be the most vigorous and productive growers.
My Veronica Longifolia does require support to prevent flopping and bent stems; a simple light-weight wire tomato cage is adequate. I also grow Veronica Spicata for cut flowers; they are shorter and don’t require any support, but the blooms are smaller and stems are thinner than the Longifolia, and the second crop is often too short to be useful as cut flowers.
In my gardens I have found that Veronica attracts the tarnished plant bug, which causes unsightly damage to the foliage. The tarnished plant bug can be easily controlled by hand picking or with an insecticidal soap.
Veronica spicata is also an easy perennial to grow in borders and accent gardens. It is not fussy, and grows in a neat, tidy clump that doesn’t need frequent dividing, and provides an upright and spiky contrast to mounding and round flowers or plant shapes. Deadheading of spent blooms will provide subsequent re-bloom throughout the summer for continual color.
Height – from 15″ to 30″, depending on variety
Light requirements – full to partial sun
Bloom time – first bloom in early to mid summer, second bloom in late summer if cut back
Hardiness – zone 3 – 8