How to Prune Spike Speedwell

Overview

Spike speedwell is a flowering perennial plant that is also known as Veronica spicata. It grows to 2 feet tall and requires little maintenance besides a bit of pinching and pruning to keep it compact and bushy and flowering all summer. It's well suited to USDA climate zones 3 to 8 (Minnesota to Florida) in sunny locations with sandy or loamy clay soil.

Step 1

Deadhead spent flowers by cutting them off at their base after they bloom. This will encourage the plant to continue producing more flowers.

Step 2

Pinch spike speedwell back in late spring by removing the growing tips and first set of leaves. You can use your fingernails for this task, but be sure to pinch it off above a node, where a branch or leaf emerges. Pinching in this manner helps the plant to remain bushy and encourages new growth on which flowers will form.

Step 3

Cut spike speedwell back to its basal foliage in October or November, removing all tall flower spikes down to their base and leaving just the bottom leaves of the plant. If you apply a layer of compost, wood chips, sawdust or other mulch at this time, it will help protect the plant against cold winter temperatures.

Step 4

Prune the root system of this plant in spring or fall when it creates a large clump. Dig it up, divide the root system into several chunks, cut off all dead roots and trim all roots into a compact ball shape. Pruning the roots of perennials will stimulate new growth. Replant each chunk about 1 foot from each other.

Things You'll Need

  • Spike speedwell plant
  • Pruning shears or garden clippers
  • Compost or other mulch
  • Shovel

References

  • University of Minnesota: Pruning Perennials
  • RainySide.com: Veronica "Goodness Grows"
  • BackyardGardener.com: Veronica Spicata
Keywords: spike speedwell, Veronica spicata, pruning perennials

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hiā€˜iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Barbara wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens," and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to Big Island Weekly, Ke Ola magazine, GardenGuides.com and eHow.com. She earned her B.A. at UCSB and her M.A. from San Jose State University.