This is the first spring for our Veronica gentianoides, sometimes called Veronica Speedwell or Gentian Speedwell. We planted this perennial last fall and it seems to be very hardy since it survived our winter, even after all of those record-breaking cold days and nights.
Gentian speedwell is one of the earliest flowering perennials. Ours started blooming right after the tulips died back and just recently finished blooming.
Its wonderful light-blue flowers are about one-half inch across and are held by a spike 16 inches tall.
This is not a plant that you would notice driving down a bumpy road at 50 miles an hour, unless it was a naturalized area with a large number of plants. It works best in an area where you can enjoy it up close such as along a sidewalk.
You may have noticed that Veronica gentionoides has the same first name as Veronica filiformis, the common lawn weed also called speedwell. That’s because they are closely related. Don’t worry though, Veronica gentianoides won’t become a lawn weed.
Like many of us, Veronica’s ancestors immigrated from somewhere else in the world. In this case, they were brought here from the middle east — specifically the Caucasus region around Turkey and Iran.
Gentian Speedwell will tolerate some light shade but prefers full sun. Wild populations in the middle east are found in damp fields, which tells us that the plant will do best if kept watered or is grown in a moist area.
There are cultivated varieties for sale, I’m not sure what variety ours are.
Later in the summer after they’re done flowering, the plants will send out creeping roots that will produce new plants. The new plants eventually form into a mat that makes a good ground cover for filling in bare spots in the garden.