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Veronicastrum virginicum (Culver’s Root)

Culver's Root

Veronicastrum, Veronicastrum Virginicum, Culver's root, Veronicastrum Fascination, Veronicastrum Alba, Verocniastrum Lavendelturm, Veronicastrum cultivars, Veronicastrum varieties

Veronicastrum virginicum, commonly known as Culver’s Root, is a tall and elegant perennial with slender spikes of small, star-shaped flowers that attract pollinators and add vertical interest to the garden.

What is Culver’s Root?

Culver’s root is a perennial plant native to northeastern North America.

Habit and Size: t is a tall, erect plant, typically growing 3-6 feet high (90-180 cm) and 2-4 feet wide (60-120 cm), with a clumping growth habit.

Flowers: The plant is well-regarded for its long, slender spikes of small, white to light purple, tubular flowers that appear in mid to late summer. The blooming season extends up to 6 weeks, making it a valuable addition to the summer garden.

Foliage: The flowers are held high above the whorled leaves, offering an airy, candelabra-like appearance. The leaves are lance-shaped and dark green, arranged in whorls around the stem.

Hardiness: Culver’s root is hardy to USDA zones 3 through 8.

Uses: Culver’s root is mainly grown for ornamental purposes, making a bold statement in borders and wildflower gardens. It is effective at the back of the perennial border or in a mixed shrub border. Perfect as an accent plant, it is also a great candidate for naturalistic, prairie, cottage, or wildflower gardens. It’s also a great choice for rain gardens as it tolerates moist soils well.

Pollinators: The flowers of Veronicastrum virginicum are attractive to a range of pollinators, including bees and butterflies.

Deer and Rabbit: Foliage is unpalatable to deer and other herbivores.

Guide Information

Hardiness 3 - 8
Heat Zones 1 - 8
Plant Type Perennials
Genus Veronicastrum
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Mid, Late)
Fall
Height 3' - 6'
(90cm - 180cm)
Spread 2' - 4'
(60cm - 120cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average, High
Soil Type Clay, Loam
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Moisture Retentive
Characteristics Cut Flowers, Showy
Native Plants Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Midwest, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northeast, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Southeast, Southwest, Tennessee, Texas, United States, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin
Tolerance Deer, Wet Soil, Rabbit
Attracts Bees, Butterflies
Landscaping Ideas Beds And Borders, Rain Gardens
Garden Styles City and Courtyard, Coastal Garden, Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow
Veronicastrum Virginicum album, Culver's root, Veronicastrum Virginicum alba, wildflower, wild perennial, White perennial
Veronicastrum Virginicum 'Diane', Culver's Root 'Diane', Veronica Virginica 'Diane', Veronicastrum Virginicum 'Diana', Culver's Root 'Diana', Veronica Virginica 'Diana', White Flowers
Veronicastrum Virginicum 'Fascination', Culver's Root 'Fascination'', Lavender Flowers, Purple Flowers, Tall Flowers

Why Should I Grow Culver’s Root?

Culver’s Root (Veronicastrum virginicum) is a worthy addition to your garden for several reasons:

  • Dramatic Display: With its towering spikes of white or pale purple flowers, Culver’s Root adds a dramatic vertical element to any garden.
  • Pollinator-Friendly: It’s an excellent source of nectar for butterflies, bees, and other beneficial insects, promoting biodiversity in your garden.
  • Resistance: It’s not particularly appetizing to deer or rabbits, reducing the risk of your plant being eaten by local wildlife.
  • Wildlife Habitats: This native plant provides habitats and food for wildlife, contributing to the ecosystem in your own backyard.
  • Extended Blooming Season: The long blooming season (up to 6 weeks) in mid to late summer ensures that your garden stays colorful when many other plants have finished their display.

 

Veronicastrum Virginicum, Culver's Root, White Flowers, Lavender Flowers, Purple Flowers, Tall Flowers
Veronicastrum Virginicum 'Lavendelturm', Culver's Root 'Lavendelturm', Lavender Flowers, Purple Flowers, Tall Flowers
Veronicastrum Virginicum F. Roseum 'Pink Glow' , Culver's Root 'Pink Glow', Veronicastrum Virginicum 'Pink Glow', Veronica Virginica 'Pink Glow', Pink Flowers

Garden Design with Culver’s Root

Culver’s Root is a striking plant that can play a key role in your garden design:

  • Vertical Interest: The tall, elegant spikes of Culver’s Root provide strong vertical interest, standing out amidst lower-growing plants. Position it at the back of the border to add depth, or use it as a centerpiece in an island bed.
  • Mass Planting: Planting Culver’s Root in groups or masses creates a stunning visual effect, particularly when their spires are in full bloom. It gives a beautiful ‘meadow’ feel to the garden.
  • Combination Planting: Combine Culver’s Root with other perennials that enjoy similar conditions. Good companions include Echinacea, Rudbeckia, and ornamental grasses, which provide contrasting forms and textures. Culver’s Root also looks fantastic interspersed with late blooming Phlox.
  • Wildlife Garden: Since it’s a native plant and a powerful attractant for pollinators, it is an excellent addition to a wildlife or pollinator garden. It also works well in a cottage garden style setting.
  • Rain Garden: Given its tolerance for different soil types, Culver’s Root can be used in rain gardens, where it can help to manage water runoff and prevent erosion.
  • Container Growing: Although it’s a large plant, Culver’s Root can be grown in large containers, where its dramatic spikes can provide a powerful statement.
  • Cut Flower Garden: Veronicastrum virginicum makes a great cut flower, so consider planting some in your cutting garden.

Remember that Culver’s Root appreciates a little support to keep its tall spikes upright, especially in exposed areas. You can use plant supports or simply surround it with sturdy neighboring plants.

Companion Plants

Culver’s Root thrives when planted with companions that share its growing conditions and offer aesthetic compatibility. Here are some great companions for Culver’s Root:

  • Echinacea (Coneflower): Their daisy-like blossoms offer a contrasting form to the tall spires of Culver’s Root.
  • Rudbeckia (Black-eyed Susan): These sun-loving, bright yellow flowers bring a pop of color to contrast with the typically white or lavender hues of Culver’s Root.
  • Phlox: Late blooming Phlox varieties can beautifully complement the tall, elegant spikes of Culver’s Root, creating a continuous sequence of bloom in the garden.
  • Monarda (Bee Balm): Bee Balm’s distinct, rounded flower clusters offer a contrast in form and provide a magnet for pollinators.
  • Ornamental Grasses: Tall grasses like Switchgrass (Panicum) or Feather Reed Grass (Calamagrostis) can offer an interesting textural contrast to the vertical spikes of Culver’s Root.
  • Perovskia (Russian Sage): With its silvery foliage and lavender-blue flowers, Russian Sage can provide a beautiful contrast in both color and texture.
  • Aster: Late blooming asters can extend the color show in your garden, following the blooms of Veronicastrum.
  • Persicaria: Their spreading habit and lance-shaped leaves provide a wonderful contrast to the tall spikes of Culver’s Root.

Growing Tips

Growing Culver’s Root, can be a rewarding experience due to its striking form and beautiful blooms. Here are some tips to successfully grow this plant:

  • Sunlight: Veronicastrum virginicum prefers full sun but can tolerate light shade. Too much shade, however, can lead to floppy stems.
  • Soil: This plant prefers well-drained soil. It can handle a variety of soil types, including clay, sandy, and loamy soils, as long as they are well-draining. It also tolerates a range of soil pH.
  • Watering: Culver’s Root performs best with consistent moisture. Water it regularly, especially in dry periods, but avoid waterlogging the soil.
  • Spacing: These plants can grow up to 3-6 feet (90-180 cm) tall with a spread of 2-4 feet (60-120 cm), so they need plenty of space. Be sure to space plants around 2-3 feet (60-90 cm) apart to allow for ample growth.
  • Fertilizer: While not necessary for established plants, a light application of a balanced fertilizer in the spring can help boost growth, especially in poorer soils.
  • Pruning: Deadhead to extend bloom and cut back after flowering to basal growth to promote new foliage growth and potential re-bloom later in the season.
  • Dividing: Veronicastrum virginicum can be propagated by division in spring or fall. This also helps rejuvenate older, clumping plants.
  • Pests and Diseases: This plant is relatively trouble-free, but watch out for slugs and snails. It is also deer-resistant, which can be a significant advantage in some areas.

Remember that all plants can have individual needs based on their specific variety and the conditions of your garden. Always monitor the health of your plants and adjust care as needed.

 

 

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.

Guide Information

Hardiness 3 - 8
Heat Zones 1 - 8
Plant Type Perennials
Genus Veronicastrum
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Mid, Late)
Fall
Height 3' - 6'
(90cm - 180cm)
Spread 2' - 4'
(60cm - 120cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average, High
Soil Type Clay, Loam
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Moisture Retentive
Characteristics Cut Flowers, Showy
Native Plants Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Midwest, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northeast, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Southeast, Southwest, Tennessee, Texas, United States, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin
Tolerance Deer, Wet Soil, Rabbit
Attracts Bees, Butterflies
Landscaping Ideas Beds And Borders, Rain Gardens
Garden Styles City and Courtyard, Coastal Garden, Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow
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