By Gary Wade
University of Georgia
Georgia Blue veronica isn't a University of Georgia introduction. It doesn't hail from the state of Georgia at all. It was found in the Republic of Georgia (formerly part of the Soviet Union) by English plantsman Roy Lancaster, who introduced and named it after the country of origin.
Georgia Blue veronica is a herbaceous perennial that grows like a ground cover and has beautiful, sky-blue flowers in early spring.
Planted over bulbs such as daffodils, it provides a dramatic color contrast and spectacular floral display as it blooms in concert with the bulbs. Yellow, white and cream-colored daffodils look particularly nice when blanketed by the carpet of blue.
Other usesIt's an excellent choice for container plantings and rock gardens, too. It provides the visual appeal of a woodland stream spilling over the sides of containers or cascading over rocks.
Growing just 4 to 6 inches tall and 2 feet wide, Georgia Blue veronica tends to hug the ground and remain compact. The evergreen leaves are only about 1 inch long, elliptical-shaped and finely toothed. They're dark green in summer and turn a burgundy-bronze in winter.
Gardeners who like plants that bloom a long time will love Georgia Blue veronica. From February to April, it bears an abundance of tiny, true-blue flowers with white centers. At times during 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 in full sun and partial shade. Although it grows vigorously and spreads by creeping rootstocks, it's not aggressive or invasive. When it reaches the limits of its growing area, it can be sheared back and easily maintained within a bed.
Well-drained soils and good nutrition are essential for success with Georgia Blue veronica. A light application of 10-10-10 fertilizer every two months and watered in during the first season will get it off to a good start.
Once it's established, a light application of a complete fertilizer such as 16-4-8 in early spring and late summer will it keep it looking its best. New plants can be grown from seed or propagated by dividing established plants in spring or fall.
(Gary Wade is an Extension Service horticulturist with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)