The garden speedwell impresses even from afar with its colorful flower candles. Here you can learn how to plant and care for the summer bloomer.
Profile of garden speedwell
Scientific name: Veronica longifolia
Plant family: plantain family (Plantaginaceae)
Other names: longleaf speedwell
Sowing time: spring
Planting time: spring to autumn
Flowering period: July to August
Soil quality: loamy, nutrient rich, humus rich
These information are for temperate climate!
Use in: flower beds, bouquets, pond planting, borders, cottage garden, flower garden, natural garden, water garden
Winter hardiness: hardy, USDA Plant Hardiness Zones: 4 (-32 °C / -25 °F)
Bee and insect friendly: Yes
Plant characteristics and classification of garden speedwell
Plant order, origin and occurrence of garden speedwell
The garden speedwell (Veronica longifolia) is a native wild herb of the genus speedwell, which is also known as longleaf speedwell. Its native habitat extends from Europe to Siberia and East Asia. The species from the plantain family (Plantaginaceae) is particularly at home in swamps, wet meadows and alluvial forests. Meanwhile, the wild plant is classified as endangered in some countries.
Characteristics of garden speedwell
Garden speedwell grows bushy-erect and grows between 40 and 120 centimeters (16 and 48 in) high, depending on location.
The name already indicates this: With 12 centimeters (5 in) the green leaves become very long. They appear lanceolate to linear-lanceolate, are pointed at the front and single or double serrated at the edge.
The narrow flowers also impress with an impressive length: they can grow up to 25 centimeters (10 in) long. From July to August, the flowers of the garden speedwell shine in a beautiful blue-violet. Depending on the variety, they can also be pink or white in color.
The capsule fruits contain numerous seeds.
Garden speedwell – cultivation and care
A warm, sunny location offers ideal conditions for Veronica longifolia to thrive.
As in its natural habitat, the speedwell species also prefers a nutrient- and humus rich loamy soil in the garden, which should be fresh to moist.
Five to eight perennials per square meter are usually sufficient. Plant them at a distance of about 35 to 40 centimeters (14 to 16 in).
Care / Watering / Fertilization
Concerning the care of the garden speedwell, two points are decisive: On the one hand, the perennial needs sufficient water, on the other hand, it is important to ensure a constant high supply of nutrients. It is advisable to fertilize the perennial with plenty of compost in autumn and spring. Faded flowers should be cut out regularly. In addition, the tall perennials usually need a supporting aid.
A division of the older rootstocks is recommended in spring.
The best way to propagate the garden speedwell is by division. The pure species can also be propagated by sowing.
Diseases and pests
Like all speedwell species, Veronica longifolia is extremely robust and resistant to plant diseases and pests.
The plant is hardy down to -32 °C / -25 °F. There are no measures for wintering necessary.
Use in the garden
If you are looking for bee-friendly perennials, you will find them with Veronica longifolia: It offers bees and other pollinators an important food source. The garden speedwell feels most comfortable at the edge of waters or in sufficiently moist perennial beds. There, the wild shrub can be wonderfully combined with purple loosestrife, hemp agrimon, pearlwort or daylilies. Together with the giant bellflower or the aconie, it cuts a fine figure on the damp edge of a wood. This beauty is also popular as a cut flower for the vase.
In the meantime, a large number of varieties of the garden speedwell are available in the trade. Here you will find a small selection:
- Veronica longifolia ‘Blauriesin’: 80 centimeters (32 in) high, strong growing, with bright blue flowers
- Veronica longifolia ‘First Love’: 30 centimeters (12 in) high, pink flowers
- Veronica longifolia ‘Pink Damask’: 60 cm (24 in) high, pink flowers
- Veronica longifolia ‘Schneeriesin’: 80 to 100 cm (32 to 40 in) high, white flowers