Handsome plants ranging from less than an inch tall to 2 ft. in height. Masses of small (14- to 12-in.-wide) flowers in white, rose, pink, or pale to deep blue make an effective display. Use in borders and rock gardens. Flowers attract butterflies. Prostrate kinds are good between stepping stones, as bulb covers. Named selections are not easily assigned to a species; authorities differ.
V. austriaca teucrium 'Crater Lake Blue'. Selection of a species native to Europe. To 1215 in. high and wide, with tooth-edged, 112-in.-long leaves. Short spikes of intensely blue flowers in midsummer. Regular water.
V. gentianoides. GENTIAN SPEEDWELL. From the Caucasus. Creeping rootstock forms a dense mat to 12 ft. high and wide. Oblong, glossy, dark green, 2- to 3-in.-long leaves. In spring, foliage is topped by leafy stems carrying 10-in. spikes of ice-blue flowers with darker veining. 'Alba' has white blooms. 'Variegata' has leaves marked with white. Regular water.
V. hybrids. The following are among the best selections. Regular water, except as noted.
'Blue Reflection'. Forms a gray-green foliage mat to 34 in. high and 1112 ft. wide, covered with blue flowers in midspring. Little to moderate water.
'Goodness Grows'. Bushy growth to 1 ft. tall and wide, with medium green, lance-shaped leaves. Violet-blue blossoms over long bloom periodfrom late spring to frost, if old flowers are removed.
'Hocus Pocus'. Compact, bushy growth to 112 ft. high, 1 ft. wide, with tall, branching spikes of blue-violet flowers. Early to midsummer bloom. Good in containers.
'Sunny Border Blue'. Compact, clump-forming plant to 1122 ft. tall, 1 ft. wide, with crinkled, dark green leaves. Spires of dark violet-blue flowers appear in late spring or early summer; deadheading prolongs the show until frost.
'Waterperry Blue'. Low, trailing plant to 46 in. high and 112 ft. or more wide; roots as it spreads. Small, rounded, bronze-tinted leaves. Loose clusters of pale blue flowers veined in deeper blue; main bloom in spring, with sporadic flowering throughout summer and fall.
V. pectinata. WOOLLY SPEEDWELL. Western Mediter- ranean native. Forms prostrate mat of foliage to 3 in. high and 1 ft. wide; spreads by creeping stems that root at joints. Small grayish leaves have scalloped or deeply cut edges. Profuse spring or early summer show of deep blue flowers with white centers; blossoms are borne on 5- to 6-in. spikes among the leaves. Little to moderate water.
V. prostrata. PROSTRATE SPEEDWELL. From Europe. Stems are hairy and tufted. Some are prostrate and form a 1- to 112-ft.-wide foliage mat; others grow erect to 8 in. high and are topped by short clusters of pale blue flowers in late spring or early summer. 'Alba' has white flowers. 'Heavenly Blue' is almost entirely prostrate, with flower stems reaching 6 in. high. 'Mrs. Holt' has pale pink flowers. 'Aztec Gold' and 'Trehane' have golden yellow leaves, bright blue flowers. Little to moderate water.
V. repens. CREEPING SPEEDWELL. Mediterranean native. Flat mat to 12 in. high, 1 ft. or wider. Small, shiny green leaves clothe the prostrate stems, give plant a mossy look. Clusters of tiny lavender to white flowers in spring. 'Sunshine' is grown mainly for its greenish gold foliage; the tiny purple flowers are secondary. Tolerates some shade. Little to moderate water.
V. spicata. SPIKE SPEEDWELL. From Europe, Asia. Rounded, 112- to 2-ft.-wide clump sends up 2-ft.-tall stems clothed in pointed oval, glossy, green leaves and topped in summer with spikes of bright blue flowers. Long bloom season if faded flowers are removed. 'Blue Charm', to 2 ft. tall, bears lavender-blue blossoms. 'Glory' ('Royal Candles') is an exceptionally long-blooming, 112-ft.-high selection with blue-purple flowers. 'Icicle', to 1518 in. high, has white flower spikes. 'Red Fox' ('Rotfuchs'), to 15 in. tall and wide, has deep rosy red blooms. 'Tickled Pink', 1218 in. high and wide, has pink flowers. Regular water.
V. s. incana. SILVER SPEEDWELL. Furry, silvery white foliage forms a 1- to 112-ft.-wide mat. Blooms in summer, producing deep blue blossoms on stems to about 1 ft. high. Little to moderate water. 'Nana', reaching just 6 in., bears violet-blue blossoms.
V. umbrosa 'Georgia Blue'. From Georgia (in Europe). Forms a 6- to 8-in.-high mat that spreads to several feet wide; small, dark green leaves turn bronze in cool weather. Profuse, white-eyed, cobalt-blue flowers in spring, with a few flowers appearing throughout summer and fall. Regular water.