Sometimes, it’s not only the appearance of a look that people want to improve. It’s also about how the plant might grow, and how efficient the production is. Space and speed are important elements when it comes to great factories of plants that feed our gardens. Like any other industry, it’s got to be efficient!
With Veronica ‘Bubblegum Candles’, there’s a lot more than meets the eye! Not only is this a brand new, psychedelic colour for a hardy perennial, but it’s also one of the first Veronica types to remove the need for vernalisation. Basically, it’s MUCH quicker to germinate the seed and grow on, because it doesn’t need a period of cold weather (vernalisation), like it’s fore-cousins did! This means production can be quicker, which keeps the nurserymen happy. At the same time, flowering comes MUCH sooner, racing from sowing to flowering in just a couple of seasons, giving the customer that reward much sooner!
Often overlooked until very recently, Veronica are damn good garden plants. We have the florist’s to thank for that! You probably recognise those majestic Veronica spires from the fancy bouquets you’ve seen in high end supermarkets, or had delivered to your door. Often in blue, but with ‘Bubblegum Candles’, that colour palette is being extended too!
How was this plant created?
It was the dream of nurseryman, Jan Verschoor to have varieties to create varieties that didn’t need the tricky, and lengthy, vernalisation process in order to flower. First year flowering Veronica, easy to grow, easy to bloom, were the target!
Jan and his growing staff collected a lot of Veronica species and different varieties, so they had a big gene pool to dive into and start making their hybridisations. They mixed the varieties up to see what would happen, and when the resultant plants made seeds, they planted them.
The planted beds boasted around 2000 seedling plants per year. Next, they studied them carefully to select the best of the best. But, of course, they were only looking for the quickest to bloom!
‘Bubblegum Candles’ was selected in 2013 from the extensive hybrid beds.
What’s different about this plant?
Within just a few short years, ‘Bubblegum Candles’ become famous in the industry, as growers were impressed with the plant, confirming it as the first rosy-red Veronica with a neat, dwarf habit and a LOT of flowers, and the timescale was sowing to production was quick and efficient. As a garden plant, Veronica excelled, not only did it look good on the garden centre bench, but it went on to flower well and was easy to maintain. It also looked pretty damn cool in containers too!
Where can you plant Veronica ‘Bubblegum Candles’?
You can plant Veronica in most garden situations! They’ll thrive in sun, and do just as well in part shade. Mix in some fresh compost into the soil if you can, they enjoy a rich soil. Try in pots too, they’ll mix super well with the usual suspects, such as Petunia and Begonia. Edgy!
Where can you buy this plant?
Plants will soon be available in garden centres across Europe, and by mail order right now from Thompson & Morgan, or Green Gate Farms in the USA.
How to grow Veronica ‘Bubblegum Candles’:
Flowering time: June to August
Location: Borders, patio pots, low hedging
Soil: Any well-drained soil
Light: Sun or Part shade
Hardy: Survives down to -15C!
Care: Prune lightly as required, to keep shape
Size: 20cm (8″) high x 30cm (12″) in spread
Shrub of the Month is sponsored by Plantipp, a company based in The Netherlands who handle the introduction of new plants into Europe (with Concept Plants doing the same job in North America).
Michael has been involved with gardening and plants since he was just five years old. He is a self-professed Plant Geek, and was listed in the Sunday Times top 20 most influential people in the gardening world, thanks to his plant hunter role at Thompson & Morgan.
Michael was responsible for new plant introductions such as the Egg and Chips plant and the FuchsiaBerry and keeps busy travelling the world in search of new plants as well as lecturing worldwide, including stints in Japan. He is very active on social media – so why not give him a follow at @mr_plantgeek or Facebook. You can also listen to The Plant Based Podcast with Michael and co-host Ellen-Mary on iTunes, Spotify and Google.
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