Speedwell: The Medicinal Plants In The Garden
The speedwell is best known for its healing properties. We reveal which types of flowers there are and what you have to consider when planting in the garden. Speedwell ( Veronica ) is easy to care for and has been used as a medicinal plant for centuries. The flowers of the plant also attract beneficial insects and other insects. So it is high time to grow Speedwell yourself in your own garden, on the balcony or terrace. We’ll tell you how to do this in this article. Here you can find out everything about the origin, different species, the correct procedure for planting, correct care, and the use of speedwell.
Speedwell ( Veronica ): origin and characteristics
Speedwell is a genus of plants from the plantain family ( Plantaginaceae ) and is common in Central Europe with a large number of species. Some of these are also known as blue loosestrife in Germany. It is unclear, however, where Ehrenpreis comes from. However, it is assumed that the origin of the medicinal plant lies between Eastern Europe and Western Asia. Meanwhile, Veronica is widespread almost all over the world, you can find it in all temperate and also in many subtropical regions.
Veronica is perennials or annual herbaceous plants that are usually rather small. The leaves are opposite and close to the stem, sometimes with a short stem. The spiked flowers are mostly blue, some with transitions to white or purple. The two long stamens of the flowers are particularly characteristic.
Speedwell species and varieties
In Germany alone, you can find over 50 different wild speedwell species in all possible places. Some prefer very moist locations right next to streams, while others feel comfortable on dry grass. The growth forms are also very different and range from the rather inconspicuous meadow herb such as the germander speedwell to the Veronica spicata with up to 40 centimeters high, long, blue flower spikes. Not every wild speedwell species is therefore suitable as a plant for the garden. Thanks to the large selection of different varieties, you can be sure to find the right Veronica for every taste and every garden.
Here are some of the Veronica species native to the USA and their location requirements:
- Ears of speedwell, heather speedwell or ears of blue loosestrife ( Veronica spicata ): (Sandy) dry and poor grasslands
- Bach speedwell ( Veronica beccabunga ): spring meadows, gappy reed beds
- Mountain speedwell ( Veronica Montana ): Moist to fresh mixed deciduous forests
- True speedwell or forest speedwell ( Veronica officinalis ): coniferous and deciduous forests, heaths, avoiding lime
- Field speedwell ( Veronica arvensis ): fields, roadsides, park lawns
- Rock speedwell ( Veronica fruticans ): Stony slopes, alpine pastures
- Germander speedwell ( Veronica chamaedrys ): herbaceous perennials, bushes, and forest borders
- Daisy speedwell ( Veronica bellidioides ): Alpine, avoids lime
- Great Speedwell (Veronica teucrium ): Full sun, moderately nutrient-rich, neutral to the chalky soil
- Long-leaved blue loosestrife ( Veronica Maritima ): brook edges, alternating perennial vegetation
- Lying speedwell (Veronica prostrata ): Sunny, loamy, moderately fertile, moist, but well-drained soil
- Nettle-leaf speedwell ( Veronica urticifolia ): Fresh mixed deciduous forests, Alps and Alpine foothills
- Persian speedwell ( Veronica persica ): Grows in all locations
- Cushion speedwell (Veronica peduncularis ): Sunny; loamy, moderately fertile, moist, but well-drained soil
- Quendel speedwell ( Veronica serpyllifolia ): roadsides, fresh meadows, and pastures
Planting speedwell: location and procedure
Speedwell can be planted in the garden in May, as soon as the ice saints are over. Of course, the plant can also be cultivated well in a pot or balcony box. Which location is most suitable for your speedwell depends very much on the respective species. It is best to pay attention to the description of the species and the respective location requirements when buying the plants.
When and where to plant speedwell?
- Best planting time: mid-May
- After the ice saints
- Location adapted to Art
- It is best to pay attention to the lettering on the plant pot
For planting, first, prepare the soil by loosening it well and removing weeds and stones. Now a planting hole is dug. In the next step, you address the special needs of your Veronica species: If the species prefers dry soil and is sensitive to waterlogging, then create a drainage layer, for example, made of gravel, before planting. Lime-loving species will thank you if you raise the pH of the soil by lime before planting. Now you ensure the right supply of nutrients. To do this, you work a fertilizer with an organic long-term effect on the soil.
Organic universal fertilizer is ideally suited for your speedwell and provides it with a long-term and gentle supply of all the important nutrients. Then the speedwell plant is carefully removed from its pot and placed in the planting hole. It should sit so deep in the ground that the bottom pair of leaves can just barely look out of the ground. Then the planting hole is filled with the excavated material and everything is well watered.
Step-by-step instructions: planting speedwell
- Loosen the soil
- Dig the planting hole
- If necessary, create a drainage layer
- Lime if necessary
- Enrich the soil with slow-release fertilizer – for example with the Plantura organic universal fertilizer
- Remove the speedwell plant from the pot
- Place in the planting hole up to the lowest pair of leaves
- Fill up with soil
- Pouring on
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Maintaining The speedwell: That should be taken into account
Once the speedwell is planted, you have little work to do with it. The medicinal plant is extremely undemanding and easy to care for. She is only happy to receive water on particularly hot days and during long dry periods. Veronica doesn’t need too much fertilizer either. In the year of planting, you should apply basic fertilization; further fertilization is no longer necessary this year.
In the following years, you can make your speedwell happy with fertilizer in the spring before flowering. It is best to use an organic fertilizer such as compost or a fertilizer with organic long-term effects. Organic universal fertilizer is produced sustainably and is free of chemicals. This is especially good for the environment, plants, and animals.
And so that you can enjoy the delicate flowers of the speedwell for as long as possible, it is worthwhile to cut off the faded shoots regularly. It is also advisable to shorten the entire plant by a third in early summer after the first flowering. So you can look forward to a second bloom in late summer.
Maintaining The speedwell at a glance:
- Water only during longer dry periods
- Fertilize with a fertilizer with an organic long-term effect before flowering
- Cut off dead shoots regularly
- In early summer, cut back the entire plant by a third
Is Speedwell hardy? Many hobby gardeners ask themselves this question when summer draws to a close. Since Veronica is a native plant species, all speedwell species are hardy. You can therefore withstand temperatures below freezing point. The medicinal plant, therefore, does not need any protection in the garden. Speedwell plants should be protected in pots by moving them to frost-free winter quarters or by isolating the pot. It also helps if potted plants are covered with brushwood in winter.
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The easiest way to propagate speedwell is by self-sowing. To do this, do not cut back the plant after flowering in early summer, but let it wither. In this way, the plant can reproduce itself from seeds. Another variant is targeted sowing. This can be done on the windowsill from mid-February or directly in the garden bed from mid-May. Another way to easily propagate speedwell yourself is to divide the plants. For this purpose, at least 15 centimeters long sections are cut from the mother plant in spring. Each section should have at least one bud. The sections are planted and quickly grow into independent flowers.
Summary: Increase the honorary prize by dividing it
- By self-sowing: do not cut back in early summer
- By sowing: pull forward on the windowsill from February, outdoors from mid-May
- By division: in spring cut 15 cm long pieces with at least one bud
Speedwell as a medicinal plant: effect and application
Ehrenpreis has been used for centuries – both in the kitchen and as a medicinal herb. Although the leaves taste too bitter for many, they are full of vitamins and iron and can therefore be easily processed into salads or green smoothies. The flowers also add nice splashes of color in wild herb salads.
Speedwell was already considered an herb with a wide range of medicinal properties in ancient times. In the Middle Ages, speedwell was used for diseases of the lungs and bronchi. In addition, it is considered a means against poisoning. The herb was also used externally: against eczema, psoriasis, or itching. Speedwell herb is still made as tea today. This is said to have an expectorant, diuretic, and calming effect. In addition, tea from The speedwell is said to help against high cholesterol levels – however, there is no scientific evidence for this (yet).