Pickerel weed is a deciduous emergent aquatic plant and a member of the Pontederiaceae a small family of tropical and subtropical aquatic plants including water hyacinth.  It is native to wetlands of North America from Canada south to Argentina where it grows in pond and lake margins, marshes, swamps, and slow-moving streams.  The rhizomatous root system produces glossy arrowhead-shaped green leaves with heart shaped bases that are up to 10″ long and rise well above the water surface.  In summer, flowering stalks carry 3-6″ long densely packed spikes of tiny, tubular blue to purple flowers 1-2′ above the water surface.  A good choice for water  and bog gardens, pond and stream edges.  The genus name, Pontederia, honors Guilio Pontedera (1688-1757) professor of Botany at Padua.  the specific epithet, cordata, comes from the Latin word cor, cordis, meaning heart and refers to the shape of the leaf base.

Type: Deciduous emergent aquatic perennial

Bloom: Three to six inch long spikes of tiny blue tubular flowers all summer

Size: 2-4′ H x 1.5-2′ W

Light:Full sun

Soil: Rich clay or sand; wet

Hardiness: Zones 3-10

Care: Fertilize plants grown in containers; remove dead plant material as it appears to prevent foul water.

Pests and Diseases: None of significance; susceptible to spider mites

Propagation: Division, seed

Companion Plants: Lotus, water lily, water pansy

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

By Karen