Veronica spicata subsp. incana 'Pure Silver'
Common Name: silver speedwell
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Plantaginaceae
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to July
Bloom Description: Sky blue
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun. Best performance occurs with consistent, regular moisture combined with sharp soil drainage, particularly in winter. Plants have shallow roots and are generally intolerant of dry soil conditions. Tolerates light shade. Remove spent flower spikes to encourage additional bloom. Plants may be cut back to basal growth after flowering.

Subsp. incana plants do not perform well in hot and humid summers with significant rainfall. Water plants at the base in an effort to avoid wetting the foliage.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Veronica spicata, commonly known as spike speedwell, is an upright, clump-forming, herbaceous perennial that typically produces a summer-long bloom of tiny, star-shaped, violet-blue flowers in dense, long-flowering, tapered-at-the-top, spike-like terminal racemes atop stems rising well above a foliage mound to 24-30” tall. Foliage consists of toothed, narrow, linear to lanceolate, medium green leaves (each to 2” long). This species is native to northern Europe and Asia. Flowers typically bloom from mid-June to August. Flowers are attractive to bees and butterflies. Cultivars with blue, violet-blue, pink and white flowers are available in commerce.

Subsp. incana (listed by some experts as under Veronica incana or Pseudolysimachion incanum) is commonly called woolly speedwell or silver speedwell in recognition of its densely hairy leaves that are silver, white or gray-green. It is native to Eastern Europe and Russia. Subsp. incana and cultivars thereof typically form a foliage mound to about 12” tall from which erect flowering spikes rise to as much as 28” tall in June featuring tapered-at-the-top, spike-like terminal racemes of small densely-packed blue flowers.

Subsp. name comes from the Latin word incanus meaning hoary in reference to leaf appearance.

Genus name honors Saint Veronica who reportedly gave a handkerchief to Jesus so he could wipe sweat from his face on the way to Calvary, with some genus plants having markings that resemble the markings on the sacred handkerchief.

Specific epithet from Latin means spiked in reference to the flower spikes on this plant.

‘Pure Silver’ is an erect, clump-forming, spiked speedwell cultivar that is noted for its silver foliage and summer bloom of blue flowers. Narrow, toothed, lance-shaped, silver-gray leaves (to 3” long) typically form a foliage mound to 12” tall. In late June, erect flowering spikes featuring tapered-at-the-top spike-like terminal racemes of small, densely-packed, deep sky blue flowers rise well above the foliage mound to as much as 28” tall. Flowers are attractive to bees and butterflies.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Root rot may occur in wet, poorly-drained soils.

Garden Uses

Rock gardens, foundations, beds, borders and other sunny spots in the landscape. Good fresh cut flower.