Creeping speedwell is a spreading perennial ground cover plant adorned with dainty flowers. Veronica filiformis is a trailing perennial that only reaches up to 5 inches in height and produces small, singular flowers. The blooms are composed of four rounded petals seen in shades of pink, purple or blue and appear in the spring and summer. The foliage is scallop-shaped and is evergreen in warm areas.
These plants spread quickly, creating mats that can reach up to 30 inches wide. This spreading nature, though good for covering large areas, can spread outside of their intended growing areas. The species is considered an invasive weed in some areas.
|Common Name||Creeping Speedwell, Slender Speedwell|
|Botanical Name||Veronica filiformis|
|Plant Type||Perennial, groundcover|
|Mature Size||2-5 in. tall, 20-30 in. wide|
|Sun Exposure||Full, partial|
|Soil Type||Loamy, sandy, clay, moist but well-drained|
|Bloom Time||Spring, summer|
|Flower Color||Pink, blue, purple|
|Hardiness Zones||3-9, USA|
|Native Area||Europe, Asia|
Creeping Speedwell Care
Creeping speedwell is very easy to care for and is often found growing wild in lawns, fields, or meadows. It is quite hardy and handles mowing and foot traffic well. In fact, cut pieces blown by a mower easily take root, spreading the plant further. These plants make excellent additions to rock gardens or around pathways.
Creeping speedwell are deer and rabbit resistant. They are susceptible to root rot or other fungal problems if the soil is kept too wet. Take note that the dense mats created by the plants may harbor ticks and fleas.
Because of its hardy nature and rapid spread, creeping speedwell is considered invasive in some areas. For example, according to the Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health, Veronica filiformis is considered invasive in the state of West Virginia. Be sure to do thorough research before planting this species in your area.
Creeping speedwell can be grown in both full sun and shade. However, full sun can be too intense for creeping speedwell when it is grown in warm climates. Plants grown in full shade often do not flower well. For the best growth and bloom, it is ideal to plant creeping speedwell in an area with partial shade, particularly in the afternoon.
Creeping speedwell is a hardy plant frequently found growing in lawns, fields, and meadows. It prefers loamy, sandy, well-draining, and moist soil, but can also tolerate some clay. These plants grow best in soil with a neutral pH level, though they can tolerate slightly acidic and slightly alkaline soils.
Once established, creeping speedwell is considered drought-tolerant. To avoid problems with soggy soil, only water these plants when the top inch or so of the soil begins to dry out. For young, newly planted speedwells, it is best to water more often until they are established. An inch of water per week is plenty to keep established plants healthy.
Temperature and Humidity
This groundcover plant is adaptable to a wide range of temperature and humidity levels, as long as it is grown within USDA hardiness zones 3 to 9. Keep in mind that the plant will remain evergreen in warm weather climates, but not in places where more seasonal changes in temperature are expected.
Creeping speedwell is a light feeder and can even be grown in poor soil conditions, so regular fertilizing is not necessary. However, you can work compost or a well-balanced fertilizer into the soil in early spring if you want to ensure the plant receives needed nutrients.
Pruning is not necessary, though it may be desired to keep the plant from spreading. Simply trim the plant with garden snips to do this. For large areas of creeping speedwell used as ground cover, a lawnmower is the best way to make quick work of the job. However, if you do not want the pruned pieces to take root, it is best to use a collection bag when mowing these plants.
Stop pruning in late summer, especially for plants grown in areas with cold winters. This allows the plants to create enough mature foliage to be protected through the winter. Pruning too late in the year will result in new growth that is too tender to survive the winter.
Propagating Creeping Speedwell
The spreading nature of creeping speedwell makes these plants easy to propagate. It can be accomplished by means of division, cuttings, or layering.
Division is a great option for plants whose centers begin to look bare or scraggly. To divide the plant, you will need a garden shovel, a hand shovel, a pair of snips, and a pair of gardening gloves. Then follow these instructions:
- In early spring, use the garden shovel to gently dig around the plant, loosening the roots. Do this until the plant and its root system can be lifted from the ground.
- Gently lift the plant out of the ground.
- Using the shovels and the snips, divide the plant into however many sections you wish. Just be sure each section has healthy foliage and roots. Discard any bare areas.
- Plant each section in its desired location.
To take cuttings, you will need a sharp pair of snips, moist, well-drained soil, and a small pot. Then follow these instructions:
- Using the snips, cut a stem below a leaf node. Trim a section that is around 6 inches long.
- Remove the leaves on the lower half of the cutting.
- Bury the stripped end into moist soil. Make sure several nodes are buried, as this is where roots will form.
- Keep the soil moist, but not soggy. Place the cuttings in bright, indirect light until roots form.
- Check for roots by gently tugging on the cutting. If there is resistance, roots have formed. Once this happens, harden the cutting off and move it to its permanent location.
To layer, you will need a pair of garden gloves, a hand shovel, and a pair of snips. Then follow these instructions:
- Find a node along the stem where you would like to propagate the plant.
- Bury the node in the soil. Wait a few weeks for roots to form.
- Check for roots by gently tugging on the buried node. Resistance means that roots have formed. At this point you may leave the node in place or cut the stem connecting it to the rest of the plant and dig up the new root system, planting it where you wish.
How to Grow Creeping Speedwell From Seed
Creeping speedwell can also be grown from seeds, started either indoors and outdoors. For indoor growth, start the seeds eight to 10 weeks before the last frost. You will need small pots, bright, indirect lighting, and a moist, well-draining seed starting mix, such as a peat moss mixture. Then follow these instructions:
- Fill the pots with the seed starting mix and dampen the mixture.
- Lightly sprinkle the tiny seeds onto the damp mixture and gently press them onto it. Do not bury them as they need light to germinate.
- Place the pots in an area that receives bright, indirect light.
- Keep the soil consistently moist.
- Once the threat of frost is gone, harden off your seedlings. Then plant them into their permanent garden spaces.
To start seeds outdoors, follow these instructions:
- Wait until the threat of frost is gone, then clear the area of weeds and work in organic material, such as compost. It is best to choose a spot that is protected from wind, as the seeds are very small and can be blown about.
- Lightly sprinkle the seeds across the soil and gently tap them onto the soil to settle them in place. Do not bury them, as they need light to germinate.
- Keep the soil moist as the seeds germinate and sprout. Once the plants become larger and more established, slowly reduce watering.
Potting and Repotting Creeping Speedwell
An easy way to contain creeping speedwell is by growing it in a pot. When choosing a container, be sure it has free-flowing drainage holes, as soggy soil can cause fungal problems. Since creeping speedwell will spread and fill the pot, at some point you will need to divide the plant or place it in a larger pot. When this time comes, tip the pot onto its side and tap it on all sides in order to loosen the roots. Slide the plant out when possible and either place it into a larger pot with loamy, well-draining soil, or divide the plant with a shovel or a pair of snips.
When grown in its appropriate growing zones, creeping speedwell does not require extra attention to survive the winter. Just be sure the soil does not get too wet, as this can lead to problems that may kill off the plant. If the winter is especially wet, you may want to cover the plant with plastic to keep some of the water out.
How to Get Creeping Speedwell to Bloom
Creeping speedwells produce small, four-petaled flowers seen in blue, purple, and pink. They often have white centers. Unlike other species of Veronica plants, creeping speedwell produces one flower per stalk as opposed to a spiky raceme covered in flowers. Still, these tiny flowers are attractive to pollinators such as butterflies and bees.
Because of their hardy nature, creeping speedwells do not often need much help to bloom. To encourage blooming, be sure to choose a planting spot that receives a few hours of sunlight each day. An area that receives morning sun and afternoon shade is ideal. Deadheading spent flower blooms will encourage more flowers to form.
Common Problems With Creeping Speedwell
Creeping speedwell is a very hardy plant and does not present many problems. In fact, it is more likely to challenge the gardener with problems of overgrowth. However, even extremely hardy plants may occasionally face problems. The biggest issues for creeping speedwell plants occur when the soil is too wet or too dry, manifesting in the form of wilting, soggy, or yellowing foliage.
This is often seen in hot climates where the soil dries out quickly. If this is the case, try to plant your creeping speedwell in an area that receives afternoon shade. Increase the amount of water and frequency of watering times to ensure the plant receives enough.
Soggy, Wilting, and Yellowing Foliage
This is a sign of too much water and may point to root rot. If this is the case, cut back on watering and only water when the first inch or so of the soil is dry. If root rot is suspected, dig up the plant and cut away any infected roots and foliage. Amend the soil with a well-draining material such as sand or compost before replanting.
Is creeping speedwell invasive?
Creeping speedwell is considered to be an invasive weed in some areas. Even in areas where it is not technically considered invasive, this plant has invasive qualities and can quickly spread outside its intended growing area.
Is creeping speedwell a perennial?
Yes, creeping speedwell is a perennial flowering plant. In areas with warm winters, this ground cover plant is also an evergreen.
How fast does creeping speedwell grow?
This ground cover is a fast grower and a quick spreader. This rapid growth makes containing the plant an important consideration for most gardeners.