Veronica spicata [veh-RON-ih-ka spi-KAH-tuh] is a perennial that produces an abundance of blue flowers appearing in long spires.
It is native to the United Kingdom, and it’s the county flower of Montgomeryshire.
Spicata goes by several common names. Many people refer to it as the spike speedwell or simply speedwell.
The main varieties produce blue, red, or white flowers. The blue varieties are among the most popular known as spicata ‘Royal Candles’ or Spiked Royal Candles.
It became a protected species in the United Kingdom in 1975. But, plants are easy to find in nurseries around the world.
The plant belongs to the Plantaginaceae family, which includes close to two thousand species.
Before you start growing speedwell in your garden, review the following plant care tips.
Veronica Spicata Care
Size & Growth
Speedwell is a hardy plant, tolerates cold and grows easily in a variety of regions.
Spicata is recommended for USDA hardiness zone 4 – 8, which covers most of North America and the southern half of Canada.
These plants grow quickly producing lance-shaped leaves a green or gray color.
The speedwell grows upright can reach up to three feet. However, when grown indoors, it may not quite reach the same height.
Flowering and Fragrance
The flower spikes are the most interesting feature of this plant. As mentioned, they’re available in a variety of colors.
The blue variety is the most common. However, the blue flowers are closer to a purplish color.
It produces flowers reaching about six inches in length. Their bloom time is late spring and into summer. They have no fragrance and look lovely.
Light & Temperature
Place these plants just about anywhere, except complete shade. They grow well in full sun and light shade.
Avoid planting or placing them in areas with lots of wind. These upright plants become damaged by strong winds.
TIP: If planting in the garden or around the house, consider planting them close to a structure to protect them from the wind.
Watering and Feeding
In the spring and summer, the plant needs frequent watering. The soil should remain moist and may require more water as the plant starts to grow.
In the winter, reduce watering. Keep the soil barely moist. If growing outdoors and experience a wet winter, consider covering with plastic to protect from excess moisture.
Fertilize during the active growing seasons and stop fertilizing during the winter.
Soil & Transplanting
Use a regular well-drained potting soil. Plant speedwell during spring to give it plenty of time to acclimate to its new home.
Transplant or repot only when moving it to a different spot or for propagation.
In the late fall, trim the plant down and remove any debris. This will help the plant come back strong the following year.
If the foliage is suffering from any diseases, burn or dispose of the foliage instead of composting it. Mildew or fungus may not create the healthiest compost.
How to Propagate Veronica Spicata
You can easily propagate Veronica spicata by divison. In late fall or early spring, divide mature plants and repot them in their own containers.
When dividing plants, choose the divisions from the outer edges of the plant. The inner portions are less likely to root, and they become less productive over the years.
Carefully spread the roots out when transplanting the new divisions. Press the soil firmly to ensure that there are no air pockets.
Pests or Disease Problems Of Spiked Speedwell
These plants are typically easy to care for, but over-watering can lead to mildew and fungus.
Try to resolve the issue with fungicide. If the leaves continue to die, trim them off and burn them.
Snails, slugs, and aphids also pose problems to the health of Veronica.
Try one of the natural control options or apply a snail or slug bait to get rid of snails and slugs. For aphids, spray an insecticide such as neem oil.
Suggested Uses For Speedwell Spicata
People tend to plant Veronicas in tubs for display on their patios. It’s become a common choice for displaying these favorite perennials.
These plants also work great in flower beds and rock gardens. They help add more height, especially when grown around low-growing plants.