Shrub veronica: planting and care

Shrub veronica: planting and care


The shrub veronica used to be part of the Hebe genus. It is now one of the Veronica species and has the Latin name Veronica subgen. Lift. The original range of the plant group is on New Zealand, where it is the largest plant genus on the island with around 90 species. Other occurrences exist in French Polynesia and the Falkland Islands. Some species are also found wild in South America. The plants grow both on the coast and in alpine regions.

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  • How to find a good location for shrub veronica
  • Hebe or shrub veronica is not poisonous


The Veronica species grow as evergreen shrubs whose stem axes lignify with age. There are dwarf shrubs with heights between 15 and 40 centimeters and carpet-forming species. Some plants develop shrubby and upright shapes. They reach heights of 150 centimeters. Other shrub veronica species grow tree-shaped and reach heights of up to seven meters.


The foliage is arranged in pairs so that two leaves face each other. The pairs of leaves sit opposite to each other on the stem. Viewed from above, two rows of leaves at right angles to one another can be seen.

There are large-leaved species that occur on coasts, forest edges and in the lowlands. With increasing altitude, the leaves develop smaller and smaller. In alpine belts of vegetation above the tree line, lift forms leaves that are reduced to leathery scales. Their shape is reminiscent of a whip.

The color palette of the lanceolate leaves ranges from dark to light green with a glossy top. There are now numerous cultivated forms with brightly colored or variegated leaves. Some varieties have green leaves with yellow or white leaf margins. They are reminiscent of the foliage of the spindle bushes.


The corolla is composed of four unevenly shaped petals. In the center sit two stamens and a long stylus. The individual flowers crowd together to form a candle-shaped inflorescence that tapers towards the tip. The inflorescence looks prickly from a distance.

The crown is reminiscent of the delicate flowers of the speedwell species. Shrub Veronica are autumn or summer flowering. Many small-leaved species begin to develop flowers as early as May. During the summer months, the species are important sources of food for butterflies. Autumn flowering plants are predominantly large-leaved. The majority of this group make up hybrids of Veronica andersonii. These cultivated forms develop flower clusters with a length of up to 15 centimeters.

The range of color tones is wide. While the natural species develop fine pink or violet flowers, cultivated forms shine in white, red or blue-violet. In the bloomless state, a clear identification of the natural species is almost impossible, since the species are very similar in their growth form.


Lifts are popular structuring agents that set color accents all year round with their rich green. They serve as a border and emphasize the garden in winter. The plants are often used as ground cover on graves. Their colorful foliage makes them attractive eye-catchers in perennial plantations. Due to its demands on the soil, the shrub veronica can be planted in the bog bed. Here the shrub harmonizes with heather and sedum plant, whose flowering times extend through autumn.

Suitable plant partners are:

  • Rhododendrons
  • Narrow-leaved bay rose
  • Japanese lavender heather

Is shrub veronica poisonous?

The shrub veronica is one of the harmless ornamental plants. It contains no toxic ingredients and can be planted in gardens where children or pets are.

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Which location is suitable?

Lifts prefer high humidity. A location on the east side of a house is ideal because the shrubs should be protected from direct sunlight. Here the plants enjoy the sun in the morning and shady conditions from midday. This means that it doesn't get too warm for the woody shrubs even in summer.

A partially shaded location under light trees is also suitable for cultivation. There are varieties that can tolerate up to three hours of sunshine a day. Varieties with variegated foliage need more light, as their leaf color is lost in locations that are too dark. When choosing a location, make sure it is sheltered from the wind.

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What soil does the plant need?

Veronica subgen. Prefer an acidic soil. Provide the subsurface with plenty of organic material so that the pH value remains in a low environment. This applies to both garden soils and tub substrates. A mixture of humus, peat and sand with equal proportions is ideal.

Pay attention to fresh conditions. The shrubs need good substrate permeability, as waterlogging damages them. Before you plant your shrub veronica, you should cover the bottom of the tub and planting hole with potsherds. They act as drainage and ensure that the irrigation water can run off optimally.


Cut young shoots from a healthy mother plant just below a knot. The cuttings should not be lignified yet. Use a tool with a sharp blade that you have thoroughly cleaned and disinfected beforehand. Remove the leaves in the lower third of the cutting. This is put into a planter filled with potting soil up to the leafy section. A nutrient-poor mixture of peat and sand is suitable as a substrate.

Moisten the soil and put a glass over the vessel. Place the pot in a moderately bright location and make sure that the floor temperature does not drop below 20 degrees Celsius.

As soon as fresh leaves develop, the cuttings are ready to be repotted. They can then be planted in a nutrient-rich substrate or set outdoors. During the growth phase, you can regularly clip off some shoot tips with your fingernail. With this measure, the shrub veronica grows bushier.

Shrub Veronica in a pot

Shrub veronica species are suitable for planting in pots. Choose a sufficiently large container so that the roots can develop optimally. As soon as the substrate is fully rooted, the plants need a larger container. A clay pot is ideal for planting because the porous material absorbs moisture. There is no regulation of the substrate moisture in plastic pots. With these models, you also have to pay attention to good water drainage.

The bushes can be combined with other plants in balcony boxes (€ 106.25 at Amazon *). High stonecrop, lantern flower or lamp cleaner grass are suitable as plant partners.

Water shrub veronica

The water requirement is high in these species during the growth phase. Water abundantly between spring and autumn. On very hot days, you should check the moisture in the soil several times a day and water more often if necessary. Shrub veronica does not tolerate heat in the air or drought in the substrate. A lack of water can cause the leaves to turn yellow. Sprinkle these with water to support the vitality of the plant.

When watering, you should take care that the water does not build up on the surface. Pour enough so that there are no superficial puddles. The soil must completely absorb the water. Let the soil dry out well between waterings, but avoid drying out completely.

As evergreen plants, the metabolism does not go to sleep even in winter. This means that shrub veronica need moisture all year round. Water your shrubs on frost-free days. The root ball should not dry out. A thick layer of mulch ensures that the soil does not freeze or dry out.

Fertilize shrub veronica properly

When the growing season begins in spring, mature trees enjoy fertilization. Young plants only need an additional supply of nutrients from the second year. Give the heed nutrients every 14 days in the form of a liquid fertilizer that is administered with the irrigation water. A weak dosage is sufficient, since the woody plants are not among the heavy consumers.

Cut shrub veronica correctly

As a rule, heels do not have to be cut. They naturally have compact growth and retain their shape over a long period of time. If the withered inflorescences look unsightly, they can be cut off specifically.

With age, the bushes bald from bottom to top. This is a natural process as the upper branches take away the light from the lower branches. To counteract this process, you should shorten the tips a little or thin out the plant slightly. This gives the lower part of the plant more light so that fresh leaves can sprout here. Aim for an oval shape so that the entire plant is adequately supplied with light.

How do I transplant properly?

If the plant needs another location, you can generously cut and dig up the root ball in the spring. Before doing this, it is advisable to cut off bare and wilted shoots and shorten the shrub a little. Also cut back the roots so that there is a balance between leaf mass and root ball.


Every two to three years potted plants are transplanted into a larger container. This measure is necessary at the latest when the roots hit the inside of the pot or grow out of the drainage hole. Choose an overcast day in late spring when the temperature is mild.

The new bucket should be about two to four centimeters larger in circumference. If you skip several sizes at the same time, the roots will initially spread very quickly and the fresh leaf shoots will be a long time coming. Completely remove the old substrate to prevent infestation by pathogens and pests. You can also rinse the roots with water to remove any residue.


Shrub veronica have a certain sensitivity to frost, although they are often offered as hardy. This sensitivity relates to the foliage, which also loses moisture in winter. If the ground is frozen, the plants cannot maintain their water balance. As a result, they dry up. Make sure you have a sheltered location where there is no direct sunlight in winter. Wind also contributes to excessive evaporation.

Cover the plant in the snow-free winter months with a garden fleece or brushwood. This protects both large-leaved and small-leaved trees from the dangerous freezing frosts. Container plants spend the cold months in a mild winter quarter. Place the vessel in an unheated and bright room. Temperatures around ten degrees Celsius and moderately high humidity are ideal.

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The typical vermin pests settle on leaves and shoots and suck the sap from the veins with their mouthparts.

Spider mites

These pests are common. They leave bright spots on the leaves. In the late infestation stage, the foliage shows light gray to bronze spots. The leaves curl up and wither until they eventually fall off. Spider mites prefer to spread in spring and leave a fine web on the parts of the plant. Remove the affected leaves and treat the plant with insecticides made on the basis of rapeseed oil.


They are one of the most common pests on shrub veronica. Aphids leave a sticky secretion on the leaves and twigs. A typical pattern of damage are curled, strongly curled and sometimes vesicular bulging leaves. The pests settle on the underside of the leaves and are recognizable as black dots.

Suitable auxiliary measures:

  • Spray the plant with a sharp jet of water
  • sprinkle with soapy water
  • sprinkle with extracts of tansy and nettles
  • Spread beneficial organisms such as gall mites and lacewings

Scale insects

These pests can be recognized by their shield-shaped body, which protects the insects like a capsule. Only the female scale insects ingest food and leave behind unusable residues in the form of sticky secretions that coat the leaves and crust over time. A severe infestation inhibits growth and cripples the plant. If your woody plant is affected, you should spray all parts of the plant with oil preparations that contain paraffin or rapeseed oil. A continuous film of oil forms so that the pests suffocate.

Fungal attack

Botrytis cinerea is one of the harmful fungi that often settle on shrub veronica. They leave a velvety coating in a mouse-gray color on the parts of the plant. The mushroom lawn is very dusty and in this way releases numerous spores. Gray mold prefers to spread in humid and warm conditions.

Good ventilation of the plant helps as a preventive measure. Give the shrubs a tonic. Here an extract from horsetail has proven successful. Alternatively, the gift of rock flour is recommended. (€ 14.95 at Amazon *) Remove all affected parts of the plant and treat heavily infected plants with an approved fungicide.


On the balcony, the shrub veronica between insect hotels and rustic garden furniture creates a summery flair. The intense colors are not only a decoration but also the perfect background for photo motifs with homemade jams and juices. This colorful sight makes you want to socialize.


  • Green Globe : Winter hardy to -5 ° C. Compact growth, uniform spherical shape. Grows between 20 and 30 centimeters tall.
  • New Zealand : small-leaved, yellow-green leaves. Height 100 to 150 centimeters.
  • Variegata : leaves white-green with yellow, silver-gray spots. Blooms in light purple from July. Up to 180 centimeters high.
  • James Stirling : Small needle-shaped leaves, green with a golden yellow tint. Up to 20 centimeters high.