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Publication #FPS-601

Veronica spp. Wooly Speedwell, Speedwell1

Edward F. Gilman2


Veronicas grow from 2 to 18 inches tall, in full sun or light shade in any good garden soil (Fig. 1). The plant is susceptible to drought and some types of veronica are serious lawn weeds.

Figure 1. 

Wooly speedwell

[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

General Information

Scientific name: Veronica spp.
Pronunciation: ver-RAWN-nick-kuh species
Common name(s): wooly speedwell, speedwell
Family: Scrophulariaceae
Plant type: annual; perennial; herbaceous
USDA hardiness zones: 4 through 9A (Fig. 2)
Planting month for zone 7: Jun; Jul
Planting month for zone 8: May; Jun
Planting month for zone 9: Mar; Apr
Planting month for zone 10 and 11: not recommended
Origin: not native to North America
Uses: cut flowers; border; mass planting; ground cover; edging
Availability: somewhat available, may have to go out of the region to find the plant
Figure 2. 

Shaded area represents potential planting range.

[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]


Height: 1 to 2 feet
Spread: .5 to 1.5 feet
Plant habit: upright
Plant density: moderate
Growth rate: moderate
Texture: medium


Leaf arrangement: opposite/subopposite
Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: dentate; serrate
Leaf shape: obovate; oblong; ovate
Leaf venation: pinnate
Leaf type and persistence: semi-evergreen
Leaf blade length: 2 to 4 inches
Leaf color: green
Fall color: no fall color change
Fall characteristic: not applicable


Flower color: purple; blue; lavender
Flower characteristic: spring flowering; summer flowering; fall flowering


Fruit shape: unknown
Fruit length: unknown
Fruit cover: unknown
Fruit color: unknown
Fruit characteristic: inconspicuous and not showy

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: typically multi-trunked or clumping stems
Current year stem/twig color: green
Current year stem/twig thickness: medium


Light requirement: plant grows in part shade/part sun
Soil tolerances: acidic; loam; clay; sand
Drought tolerance: moderate
Soil salt tolerances: unknown
Plant spacing: 12 to 18 inches


Roots: not applicable
Winter interest: no special winter interest
Outstanding plant: not particularly outstanding
Invasive potential: not known to be invasive
Pest resistance: no serious pests are normally seen on the plant

Use and Management

Division may be done in autumn or spring. Seeds germinate in 15 to 20 days at 70°F. Softwood cuttings may be taken in spring. Seed can be planted outdoors within two months of frost.

Pests and Diseases

Downy mildew causes pale spots on the upper sides of leaves. Corresponding regions on the undersides of the leaves are covered with grayish mildew.

Leaf spot causes numerous small circular spots that vary in color from violet to brown. The spots are found on the upper leaf surface. On the undersides, the spots are yellowish brown. As the spots run together, the leaves look scorched, ragged, and shotholed. The last stage of the disease is defoliation. Destroy all fallen and spotted leaves. The disease is caused by Septoria veronicae.

Powdery mildew causes a white, powdery growth on the leaves.



This document is FPS-601, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date October 1999. Reviewed February 2014. Visit the EDIS website at


Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.