15 Georgia Blue veronica

first_imgVolume XXXNumber 1Page 15 By Gary WadeUniversity of GeorgiaGiven Georgia’s unpredictable climate, most gardeners are lookingfor tough, drought-tolerant, heat-tolerant, low-maintenanceplants with outstanding seasonal qualities. Georgia Blue veronica (Veronica peduncularis ‘GeorgiaBlue’) has all these qualities and more. It’s an easy choice fora prestigious Georgia Gold Medal in 2005.Georgia Blue veronica isn’t a University of Georgia introduction.It doesn’t hail from the state of Georgia at all. It was found inthe Republic of Georgia (formerly part of the Soviet Union) byEnglish plantsman Roy Lancaster, who introduced and named itafter the country of origin.Georgia Blue veronica is a herbaceous perennial that grows like aground cover and has beautiful, sky-blue flowers in early spring.Planted over bulbs such as daffodils, it provides a dramaticcolor contrast and spectacular floral display as it blooms inconcert with the bulbs. Yellow, white and cream-colored daffodilslook particularly nice when blanketed by the carpet of blue.Other usesIt’s an excellent choice for container plantings and rockgardens, too. It provides the visual appeal of a woodland streamspilling over the sides of containers or cascading over rocks.Growing just 4 to 6 inches tall and 2 feet wide, Georgia Blueveronica tends to hug the ground and remain compact. Theevergreen leaves are only about 1 inch long, elliptical-shapedand finely toothed. They’re dark green in summer and turn aburgundy-bronze in winter.Gardeners who like plants that bloom a long time will loveGeorgia Blue veronica. From February to April, it bears anabundance of tiny, true-blue flowers with white centers. At timesduring the bloom cycle, the foliage is masked by all the flowers.The flowers are highly attractive to bees and butterflies.Grows anywhereGeorgia Blue veronica is hardy in zones 5 to 8 and thrives infull sun and partial shade. Although it grows vigorously andspreads by creeping rootstocks, it’s not aggressive or invasive.When it reaches the limits of its growing area, it can be shearedback and easily maintained within a bed.Well-drained soils and good nutrition are essential for successwith Georgia Blue veronica. A light application of 10-10-10fertilizer every two months and watered in during the firstseason will get it off to a good start.Once it’s established, a light application of a completefertilizer such as 16-4-8 in early spring and late summer will itkeep it looking its best. New plants can be grown from seed orpropagated by dividing established plants in spring or fall.(Gary Wade is an Extension Service horticulturist with theUniversity of Georgia College of Agricultural and EnvironmentalSciences.)last_img