Royal Candles speedwell is a clump-forming plant with flowers that grow on stalks of a medium height. It belongs to the plantain family and is grown for the showiness of its spikes of blue flowers, which begin blooming in late spring or early summer and last for a long time. The best time to plant it is in spring, once it is easy to work the soil in your region.
- Botanical Name: Veronica spicata Royal Candles. Royal Candles is a brand name commonly used as a cultivar name; an alternative cultivar name is Glory.
- Common Name: Speedwell
- Plant Type: Herbaceous plant with a perennial life cycle
- Mature Size: 15 inches in height, with a similar spread (when in bloom)
- Sun Exposure: Full sun
- Soil Type: Well-drained, with average moisture and average fertility
- Soil pH: neutral
- Bloom Time: Typically begins in June
- Flower Color: Purplish-blue
- Hardiness Zones: 3 to 8
- Native Area: Northern Europe and Asia
How to Grow Royal Candles Speedwell
Royal Candles speedwell plants grow best in an area with full sun and a loamy, well-drained soil. Although they are drought-resistant plants once mature, you must water them regularly while they are young. Even as older plants, they will bloom better when given a moderate amount of water.
Royal Candles may suffer from root rot in poorly-drained soil that stays overly wet, so it is important to install it in a well-drained soil. To help accomplish this, mix compost into the ground when you plant it. The compost will also add nutrients to the ground to give your young plant a good start. In future years, occasionally sprinkle more compost onto the ground around the plant and work it in by soaking the soil afterward with your garden hose.
Deadheading Royal Candles Speedwell
Deadhead the flowers to extend the blooming season. The easiest way to accomplish this, if you have several speedwell plants growing together, is by shearing, so that you can remove many blossoms all at once. Do not go out of your way to remove a large amount of foliage during the shearing, but do not stress out over being especially careful to avoid it, either. A bonus in shearing is that you can easily remove any ratty-looking upper leaves in the process.
But Royal Candles speedwell offers a colorful display while asking for relatively little in return in the way of care. Many gardeners do not even fertilize a speedwell plant much (perhaps fertilizing it some years, but not in others); yet it typically blooms well year in and year out in spite of the neglect.
Other Types of Veronica Flowers (for Zones 4 to 8)
Royal Candles is one of the hardiest speedwells, but there are many types of Veronica plants. For purposes of gardening, we can divide them into two groups:
- Upright growers
In addition to Royal Candles speedwell, other kinds of V. spicata are:
- Giles Van Hees, which has pink flowers; at just 6 inches tall when in bloom, this is a good choice if you want a short plant
- Icicle, which bears white flowers; 2 feet tall in bloom
Besides, V. spicata, other popular upright species in blue are V. longifolia and V. teucrium. For example, widely available are:
- V. longifolia Sunny Border Blue: Not only does it have longer leaves than Royal Candles (as its Latin species name of longifolia suggests), but it is also a taller plant, able to reach 3 feet in height in bloom.
- V. teucrium Royal Blue: Similar to Royal Candles, but the individual blooms on the flower spikes are bigger
For a spiky plant with more height to it than Royal Candles (besides V. longifolia), something ideal to grow at the back of a perennial border, consider Culver's root. Variously classified as Veronica virginica or as a member of the closely related genus, Veronicastrum, Culver's root (grown in planting zones 3 to 8) can reach 6 feet in height and has whorled leaves. But perhaps Culver's root is best known for its spikiness. Not only does it bear flower spikes, but those spikes occur in clusters.
But the genus of Veronica plants is nothing if not diverse and includes low-growing plants, as well. For example, V. umbrosa Georgia Blue stays less than 6 inches tall, making it useful as a flowering ground cover. Another short creeper is V. repens Sunshine, which has golden leaves.
Uses in Landscaping, Wildlife Attracted to Veronica Flowers
Because of its decent drought-tolerance once established, Royal Candles speedwell is a good choice for use in rock gardens. Many gardeners use it in a perennial flower border where a short or medium-sized plant would fit best.
Veronica flowers are plants that attract butterflies and bees. But gardeners in deer country are lucky because speedwell is a deer-resistant perennial (it tends not to suffer from rabbit damage, either).
Meaning of the Name
The name of "Veronica" is a shortened version of two Latin words joined together, vera (meaning "true") and iconica (meaning "image"). According to legend, a kind woman wiped the blood and sweat from Christ's face with her veil as he was passing her on the way to Calvary. The "true image" of his face is said to have been transferred onto this linen in what some regard as a miracle. The woman came to be known as "Saint Veronica."