Indoor plants

Veronica as an ornamental plant

The Veronica genus

The Veronica genus is very numerous and currently includes over 500 species of herbaceous plants belonging to the Scrophulariaceae family. All species are native to Asia and a large part of Europe, but are now cultivated all over the world for ornamental purposes. Bushes rarely exceed 60-70 centimeters in height, even in spontaneous species, and it is common to see Veronica in numerous gatherings that often cover several square meters. The stems of the Veronica are tall, fleshy or semi-woody, and equipped with numerous green lanceolate leaves, often covered with a sparse down. Some varieties have silver leaves on the underside, others still have a bronze color. The inflorescences are long and panicle, composed of small purple, white, fuchsia or blue flowers depending on the species.

The most common species


The Veronica species currently sold are very few compared to all the species. Some are cultivated by taking seeds or cuttings in nature, as is done for example for the common Veronica di campo (Veronica chamaedrys) which produces, in spring and early summer, small blue and white flowers commonly known as “eyes of the Madonna” . In nurseries, on the other hand, veronica is an ornamental plantpar excellence is the Austrian (Veronica austriaca), with blue or purple inflorescences that can even exceed 35 centimeters in length, thus making it one of the largest species. Veronica longifolia, on the other hand, is one of the lowest and easily cultivable species in small spaces (even if some varieties of the same can exceed 90 centimeters). Anyone who owns a small artificial pond in the garden knows Veronica anagallis well, which has adapted to living in swampy environments and high concentrations of soil moisture.


Generally speaking, plants belonging to the Veronica genus need a warm environment and direct contact with sunlight. They do not bloom in shady locations and sometimes die quickly if the condition persists for a long time. Going to a well-stocked nursery, it is not difficult to get advice on the most suitable species and, once the plants have been obtained, we can try our hand at veronica as an ornamental plant at home. They are transferred into very large pots (from 30-40 centimeters) and, if possible, insert only one per pot, thus avoiding too numerous gatherings that would lead the Veronica to grow little and badly. The substrate will consist of soil, river sand and vermiculite (or other draining material), to prevent stagnation of water that is harmful to the plant. The waterings, regular and never abundant, they will be used to keep the soil moist, while they will be suspended in the winter period. As aforementioned, it is necessary to find a place exposed to the sun, therefore large windows or sills facing south, well illuminated and irradiated, will guarantee the Veronica a constant flowering in the summer period.

Reproduction


The reproduction of Veronica to be used as an ornamental plant occurs through seeds, produced after flowering. At the beginning of autumn, small leathery and brown fruits appear, compressed on the sides, inside which there are different seeds (from 20 to 60 and more) of yellow, brown or black color (depending on the species); they are collected by placing cotton or linen sheets under the plants, after which they are kept in a dry place until the following spring. Alternatively, they can be purchased already packaged. Sowing begins in February-March, in cell seedbeds composed of moist peat sphagnum and river sand, taking care to place a single seed per compartment. When the seedlings reach about 10 centimeters in height, they should be transferred to larger pots or directly to the garden.

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