How to Grow Veronica Plants

Guide to Growing Speedwell, Gypsyweed, and Bird's Eye

Plants belonging to the Veronica genus are hardy perennials and annuals. They range from 10 cm to 1.2 m (4 to 48 inches) in height.

They bloom from summer to the start of autumn. when in bloom, and they carry spikes of small purple, blue, or white flowers.

Some of the common names for Veronica include Speedwell, Culver's root, Bird's eye, and Blackroot.


Speedwell has long been known to have medicinal purposes. The plant has been traditionally used for the treatment of coughs, skin eruptions, and to treat slow-healing wounds.

Veronica persica

Veronica persica by T.Kiya.

Commonly Grown Veronica Species Photographs and Plant Identification

Veronica officinalis

Veronica officinalis
Veronica officinalis (Common Speedwell / Heath Speedwell / Common Gypsyweed), photograph by Andreas Rockstein; CC.

Veronica peregrina

Veronica peregrina
Veronica peregrina (American Speedwell / Thymeleaf Speedwell / Neckweed), picture by Andrey Zharkikh; CC.

How to Grow Veronica

Veronica Growing and Care Guide

  • Common Names: Speedwell, Gypsyweed, Bird's eye, Culver's root, American brooklime, and Black root.
  • Scientific Name: Veronica umbrosa; V. austriaca; V. americana; V. gentianoides; V. officinalis; V. prostrata.
  • Life Cycle: Annual or Hardy Perennial.
  • Height: 4 to 48 inches (10—120 cm). Recent classifications may even include some trees into the genus.
  • Native: Europe, Americas, Asia, Australasia.
  • Growing Region: Zones 3 to 10.

  • Flowers: Late spring through to early autumn.
  • Flower Details: Purple, violet, lilac, blue, white, sometimes striped. Spiked racemes. Upright or creeping stems.
  • Foliage: Herbaceous. Species dependent: Oval, elliptic to lanceolate. Mat-forming.

  • Sow Outside: Seeds: Surface Before the last frost or in autumn.
  • Sow Inside: Germination time: two weeks to three months. Temperature: 60 to 70°F (15—21°C). Nine to ten weeks in advance. Transplant outdoors before the last light frost or the last month of autumn. Space at 6 to 20 inches (15—50 cm).

  • Requirements and care: Full sunlight; some species can tolerate partial shade. Average soil. Good drainage. Slightly acidic to neutral soil pH 5.5 to 7. Regular watering. Deadhead. Cut back to the ground in autumn. Propagate: by dividing after blooming has completed or from cuttings in the summer.
  • Family: Plantaginaceae.

  • Miscellaneous: Used by Native Americans as an herbal tincture to treat bronchial congestion. It was also used in Austria as an herbal medicine for the treatment of the cardiovascular system and nervous disorders. American brooklime (Veronica americana) is edible with a watercress-like flavour.
    Veronica species have been traditionally used in herbal teas in many cultures to treat Asthma, and problems with the nervous system, metabolism, the respiratory tract, and the cardiovascular system. Although a common lawn weed (treat with multiple applications of 8% Triclopyr to eradicate), it makes an excellent ground-cover.

How to Grow Veronica

If growing Speedwell outdoors from seed, then sow on the surface. Sow out either at the start of autumn or the start of spring.

The speedwell plants should be located in a sunny part of the garden. This should have good drainage and a soil that is not rich and of pH 5.5 to 7.0.

The spacing that you plant Veronica is dependent upon the species; grow small veronica plants at 15 to 30 cm (6 to 12 inches), and larger Veronica varieties from 30 to 45 cm (12 to 18 inches) apart.

If you plan to first grow Veronica indoors, then start the process about 10 weeks in advance.

Seeds take from two weeks to three months to germinate at a temperature of 15 to 20 degrees centigrade (59 to 68°F). Transplant in autumn or before the last frost of spring.

Caring for Veronica

Veronica plants require the occasional feed. Taller varieties should be staked. Water plants regularly during dry spells.

It is important to deadhead old flowers to prolong blooming. If you require more plants then propagate Veronica by taking cuttings in the summer; or by division of the plant in the autumn.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Veronica plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ growing guides: How to grow Antirrhinum majus, Parsnips, Synthyris plant, and Digitalis plants.