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Speedwells

Some speedwells are low growing but most are upright with flower spires of blues, violets, pinks and whites.

Veronica spicata ‘Glory’ Royal Candles.

Veronicas are members of the Figwort family and are known as speedwells.

The genus contains about 250 species of annuals, perennials, and a few sub-shrubs found mainly in Europe. Some speedwells are low growing but most are upright with flower spires with blues, violets, pinks and whites.

All are well behaved in gardens except for one—Veronica filiformis, which is a low-growing pale blue variety that is invasive.

Plant Veronicas in full sun or partial shade and water well during dry weather. Divide them every three to four years after they flower.

‘Sunny Border Blue’ is a well-regarded hybrid Veronica that grows 1½ to 2 feet tall with violet-blue, 7-inch-long flower spikes, produced from early summer into late fall—if dead-headed—in zones 4 to 8. It looks especially pretty planted en masse.

A more compact 12-inch-tall plant is ‘Ultra Blue Dwarf’ with purple-blue flower spikes, and it’s an excellent nectar source for birds and butterflies.

Veronica spicata ssp. (wooly speedwell) grows in zones 3 to 8 but does not like hot, wet summers. Veronica ‘Icicle’ is 26-inches-tall with long-lasting pure white flowers and light green foliage, and ‘Eveline’ is a rich rosy purple.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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