Veronicastrum virginicum

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: Culver's root
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Plantaginaceae
Native Range: Northeastern North America
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 4.00 to 7.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 4.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to August
Bloom Description: White to pale blue
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Rain Garden
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Wet Soil

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium to wet, well-drained soil in full sun. Tolerates light shade (and appreciates some afternoon shade in the deep South), but tends to flop and require support if grown in too much shade. Soil should not be allowed to dry out. Usually takes several years to establish itself in the garden.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Culver's root is a large, erect, Missouri native perennial which occurs in open woods, thickets and moist meadows and prairies throughout the State. Typically reaches 3-7' tall when in bloom. Resembles a large veronica, except its lance-shaped leaves are in whorls (3-7 leaves per whorl) on the stems rather than opposite. Dense, slender, 9" long spikes (racemes) of tiny, tube-like, white to pale blue flowers open from the top down in late spring to early summer atop strong, upright stems. Bloom can extend well into the summer. Smaller, branching, erect, lateral racemes give plant a candelabra-like effect when in full bloom. Root has been used medicinally as a cathartic.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Seldom needs staking, but may need support if grown in too much shade.

Garden Uses

Tall spikes provide a strong accent and good vertical height for the garden. Effective at the rear of the perennial border or in a mixed shrub border, native plant garden, cottage garden or wild garden.