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Veronica spp., also known as Veronica or speedwell, is a diverse genus of flowering plants that range from sprawling groundcovers to mid-sized herbs and shrubs. These plants can be propagated in various ways, but non-hybrid ones are easily grown through seeds.
It takes two to four weeks to germinate Veronica seeds. However, the speed of the plant’s growth from seed to flower can vary based on several factors, including the cultivar, the planting season, and environmental conditions like light, water, and soil.
This article will discuss Veronica’s growth time from seed and the factors that can influence the plant’s growth rate. I’ll also discuss an alternative way to grow Veronica hybrids.
Veronica Growth Time From Seed
Veronica seeds typically take 14 to 28 days to germinate after sowing. Most cultivars require the following conditions to sprout:
- Warm soil temperatures around 70 °F (21 °C) (source)
- Consistently moist soil
- Bright sunlight
You can maintain these conditions more easily when you sow seeds in the spring, approximately one to two weeks after the last frost. Alternatively, you can plant the seeds in the early fall and expect flowers the following spring or summer.
Factors That Affect Veronica Plant’s Growth Time
Although the germination time is similar across various Veronica species, the time it takes to reach full size and produce flowers can vary based on several factors.
Variety or Cultivar
Some Veronica species are prolific re-seeders, while others don’t self-sow. The best varieties to grow from seeds are:
- V. spicata
- V. longifolia
- V. arvensis
Veronica plants are capable of self-pollination (source). As a result, the seeds will grow into new plants identical to the parent plant. However, they’re highly likely to cross-pollinate and form hybrids when grown alongside other species.
Therefore, it’s crucial to distinguish between hybrids and non-hybrids. It can be challenging, though, because there are over 230 scientifically recognized species (source).
Here are the three types of Veronica plants based on growth rate:
- Slow-growing: These plants can take longer to establish their root system and often wait until the following year before producing flowers. One example is V. oltensis, which may grow rather slowly but tends to live longer than other species (source).
- Moderately fast-growing: These plants are likely to bloom in late spring or early summer when sown in the fall of the previous year. However, seeds sown in the spring may need one full year to produce flowers. Examples of moderately fast-growing Veronica species include V. spicata (source) and V. peduncularis.
- Fast-growing: These species seldom self-sow and often spread through stolons, making them relatively invasive. If you have enough space in your garden, these species can make excellent groundcovers with colorful blooms and lush foliage from spring to fall. Some examples are V. filiformis (source) and V. liwanensis.
See How To Control the Spread of Speedwell Plants if your Veronica are getting out of hand.
Seedlings that germinate in the spring will grow actively. However, depending on the variety, they’re less likely to produce flowers during the blooming season than those grown in the fall.
Sowing seeds and encouraging them to sprout in the fall can help guarantee that your plant will produce blooms the following spring due to the cold period or “vernalization” (source). The plant will have slower metabolic activities and growth during this time but will pick up once again as the temperatures rise during spring.
Although seeds need consistently moist soil to germinate, many young Veronica plants prefer slightly dry soil once their roots have been established — especially low-growing varieties. These plants thrive better in sandy or rocky soil (source).
If you grow them in poorly drained soils, they’ll suffer stunted growth and may even die from root rot.
Many Veronica cultivars are drought tolerant, but some grow optimally in constantly moist but not soggy soil. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand the specific needs of the cultivar you intend to grow in your garden.
Poor watering practices can also stunt your plant’s growth. Too much water can also hinder flower production.
Veronica seeds need bright light to germinate. Similarly, young plants need full sun or six to eight hours of direct sunlight every day to grow optimally. Adequate sunlight is also necessary for the plant to produce flowers.
Although some species can tolerate partial shade, they’ll be less likely to produce plenty of flowers. Taller varieties may even become leggy when they don’t get enough sunlight, often requiring staking to keep them upright.
Alternative Way To Propagate Veronica
Since Veronica hybrids tend to grow differently from their parents when grown from seeds, it’s best to propagate them using other methods.
Propagation Through Cuttings
If you have hybrids with beautiful flowers and want new plants that look exactly the same, you can collect healthy cuttings from the outer branches. This method is best for erect varieties.
You can collect six-inch (15 cm) cuttings from short varieties or 10-inch (25 cm) cuttings from taller ones in late summer or fall. I recommend collecting cuttings after the blooming period when you’re pruning the plant in preparation for the cold season.
Always cut one-half to an inch (1.25 to 2.5 cm) below the node using sterile shears and remove the bottom leaves before planting the cutting in moist potting soil.
Keep the following parameters in mind:
- Bright, indirect morning light
- Consistently moist soil
- Temperature around 68 °F (20 °C)
Under suitable conditions, it’ll take about a month before the cuttings develop roots long enough to be ready to move to a bigger pot.
Reduce watering frequency to once a month in winter and move the plant to a cool room like a basement. Keep the humidity low and the temperature below 50 °F (10 °C).
Six to eight weeks before the last frost, you can take the pot out of the basement and place it next to a bright window. After the last spring frost, you can move the pot outdoors or transplant the young plant into well-drained garden beds.
Veronica seeds germinate between two and four weeks under suitable conditions in spring or early fall. Although all Veronica seeds require consistently moist soil and bright light to germinate, the seedlings will have different requirements to grow normally.
For instance, some cultivars require regularly moist soil, while others prefer occasionally dry soil. Incorrect watering can slow down the growth of seedlings and may even kill them.
Therefore, it’s best to understand your specific plant’s requirements for optimum health and growth.