The botanical name of Culver’s root is Veronicastrum virginicum and the plant is truly a lovely native perennial plant. The plant can grow up to six feet in height making it an excellent back border plant or for meadown like areas. The Culver’s root plant actually needs full sun, but once established takes little care, except cutting down the stalks once a year. The plant lovely white flowers will bloom from early summer sometimes until fall. The plant is easy to establish and does not appear to be eaten by deer or rabbits. Bees and butterflies love it as do many beneficial insects. Continue reading to learn more about culver's root growing conditions.


Culver's Root Plant Info

The Culver’s root plant is a lovely native perennial plant that grows up to six feet in height. Dying back in winter it puts out fairly slender un-branched stems with clusters of three to seven spear shaped leaves that circle the stem in a whorl. Each of the leaf is up to eight inches long and 1½ inches wide with sharp, fine teeth, tapering to a point at both ends. In early summer the branch ends divide and then produce a branched candlearbor-like structure of flower spikes from three to 8 inches in length. The individual flowers are tiny, about ¼ inch long, white, pinkish or sometimes blue and bloom from the bottom of the spike to the top. The Culver’s root plant can flower profusely and often continues to flower until frost. The plant will flower from seed in the first year but takes many years to reach full height. The root system actually consists of a central taproot and some rhizomes, which enable vegetative reproduction.


Culver’s Root Plant Care and Location

The plant is hardy to zone three. The Culver’s root plant prefers full sunshine but can tolerate some shade. If shade is too dense staking will be necessary to hold the Culver’s root plant upright. The plant likes a rich loamy soil but most soils are tolerated as long as some organic material has been dug into them. The Culver’s root plant will grow best with good organic matter and may not reach its full height on other soils. The plant does not actually like the soil to dry out too much and also cannot tolerate waterlogged soils. The Culver’s root plant needs watering through the season as cannot easily tolerate drought. The leaves will turn crispy.

Since the Culver’s root plant has tap root it prefers not to be moved. They can take several years to establish themselves well in a garden and reach full height, but will flower from seed in the first year. Each year the Culver’s root plant gets bigger and taller. The Culver’s root plants will increase in size using rhizomes but digging them up and moving them will cause them to stunt and take several years to re-establish. The mature plants can be over 4 feet in diameter. Care should be taken when digging due to taproot. Often such plants cannot tolerate being moved.

Make sure you use a well balanced fertilizer three to four times per year especially when the plants are establishing themselves. Water weekly if there is insufficient rain.

The plant stems can be left until spring to give winter interest to the garden and it will also provide shelter for beneficial insects.


Culver's Root Growing Conditions

Culvers root seeds are very small, although they can be sown directly in the garden. Their small size really makes it hard to keep weeds away while germination takes place. You can sow the culvers root seeds inside where more control is possible.

If you are sowing the culvers root seeds outdoors wait until all danger of frost has passed and broadcast the seeds on the soil surface, as the culvers root seeds are so small that they can fall into cracks between the soil grains.

The culvers root seeds do best if pretreated with two to three months of cold stratification. You can sow in seed trays or plug tray cells for best results. Keep moist until the culvers root seeds germinate.

The seed germination can be slow and erratic. Some of the culvers root seeds may germinate quickly other may take up to 2 months before they germinate. Patience is needed. The small culvers root seeds take quite a while to reach a size large enough to handle. Pot on into larger pots but do not set outside until they are large enough to establish themselves. Ensure that the culvers root seedlings are well hardened before planting outside and also water in well once planted. They are best planted out before rain. 

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