Veronica: A Drought-Tolerant, Sun-Loving Perennial

Veronica, also commonly referred to as Speedwell, is an easy-to-grow perennial that is cold hardy down to zone 3. She produces tall spikes of flowers in shades of blues, pinks, and white averaging anywhere from 4-20” tall, depending on the variety. Smaller, groundcover varieties will bloom in spring, while the taller varieties will bloom in summer. If you prune back spent flowers right to the base of the plant, it will often encourage another flush of beautiful, tall blooms. Veronica is a great addition as a “plant it and forget it” type of perennial that quickly becomes drought tolerant and a faithful companion in the garden. 

Soak up the Sun

Veronica, while hardy and drought tolerant, does require proper care at planting, so be thoughtful with her location to give your plant the best opportunity to thrive. This perennial prefers very sunny locations with loamy, well-draining soil. Planting her in the shade will increase risk of powdery mildew and will result in fewer blooms. If you only have clay soil, be sure to amend the soil at planting with a generous helping of compost. Space the plants about 10-20” apart or about 15-20” from other plants to give space for adequate growth. 

Planting and Care

To plant Veronica, dig a hole twice as large as the pot, loosen the roots if they are bound tight, add a generous scoop of compost to the hole and mix to combine. Then gently insert the plant making sure the top of the root ball is in line with the soil and pack the dirt back around it. Water thoroughly. Once established, Veronica will only need supplemental watering about once a week. An exception to this is when the soil gets exceptionally dry or there are several days in a row of extreme heat. We recommend adding a layer of mulch around the plant to keep weeds at bay and to help with moisture retention.

Veronica isn’t a heavy feeder, so adding an all-purpose fertilizer once in the spring should be enough to see her through the season. 

The best time to divide and replant Veronica is in the early fall or spring. Divide this perennial every 2-4 years by digging the root ball and cutting directly through it with a sharp spade. Leave plenty of roots and foliage for each new plant and replant just as you did with your first plant.

Four favorites for us this season are:  First Lady, First Love, First Glory and Royal Candles.