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Pickerel Weed Pontederia cordata

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Pontederia cordata var. angustifolia
  • Pontederia cordata var. lanceolata
  • Pontederia cordata var. lancifolia
  • Pontederia lanceolata
Phonetic Spelling
pon-te-DARE-ee-uh kor-DAY-tuh
Description

Pickerelweed is a native herbaceous emergent that grows along shallow shorelines up to 4 feet tall and is found in all areas of NC. The thick rhizomes spread to form large colonies. Its preference is for freshwater depth up to 12 inches in full sun in rich loamy soils. It can tolerate part sun, poor soils and occasional flooding up to 20 inches. The tall spikes of lavender-blue flowers occur summer through fall and attract many pollinators. They are held well above the water for a showy long season display.

Use this plant along bogs, ponds or streams. It can also be grown in a large container or water gardens. It is very important to maintain water depths greater than saturation, but shallower than the leaves year-round.

Relatively pest and disease-free.

See this plant in the following landscapes:
Water Garden Water Garden Water Wheel
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Alba'
Tags:
#bees#purple#sun#full sun#water garden#perennial#container plant#wildlife plant#purple flowers#moths#nectar plant#riparian#ducks#fall interest#water plant#specialized bees#food source#bumblebees#NC native#summer flowers#deer resistant#fish#ponds#aquatic#native garden#aquatic plant#dragonflies#albeit#pollinator plant#native wildflower#wildflower garden#food source summer#Coastal OBL#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#Piedmont Mountains OBL#bird friendly#food source hard mast fruit#mammals#butterfly friendly#butterflies#audubon
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Alba'
Tags:
#bees#purple#sun#full sun#water garden#perennial#container plant#wildlife plant#purple flowers#moths#nectar plant#riparian#ducks#fall interest#water plant#specialized bees#food source#bumblebees#NC native#summer flowers#deer resistant#fish#ponds#aquatic#native garden#aquatic plant#dragonflies#albeit#pollinator plant#native wildflower#wildflower garden#food source summer#Coastal OBL#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#Piedmont Mountains OBL#bird friendly#food source hard mast fruit#mammals#butterfly friendly#butterflies#audubon
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Pontederia
    Species:
    cordata
    Family:
    Pontederiaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    E. North America to Caribbean
    Distribution:
    USA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , OR , PA , RI , SC , TN , TX , VA , VT , WI , WV Canada: NB , NS , ON , PE , QC
    Wildlife Value:
    Butterflies and bumblebees visit the blooms for nectar. Members of the genus Pontederia support the following specialized bee: Florilegus (Florilegus) condignus. Seeds are eaten by ducks. Under the water, the plants provide some shelter for fish. Dragonflies and damselflies lay eggs on the stems.
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Food Source
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Pickerelweed is highly deer resistant and heat tolerant.
    Edibility:
    Seeds can be eaten raw or dried. Young leaves can be used in salads.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 2 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 6 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Water Plant
    Wildflower
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Erect
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Frequent Standing Water
    Moist
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9a, 9b, 10b, 10a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    The fruit is oblong and 3-celled with one seed that has toothed ridges. Displays from June to November.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Purple/Lavender
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Spike
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Petals:
    6 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    3 to 6 in. densely packed spikes of bright lavender-blue tubular flowers are held well above the water and bloom from the bottom up. Individual flowers are 1/2 inch and 6-petaled with two yellow spots on the middle-upper lobe of the corolla. Flowers from summer through fall (around May to October).
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Shape:
    Cordate
    Lanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    4 to 10 in. long and 2-5 inches across basal leaves are glossy, erect, deep green, egg- to lance-shaped. Heart or wedge-shaped base with distinctive swirling; apex tapers to a point. Leaves arise directly from the rhizomes. Stem has 1 leaf similar to the basal leaves.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Round
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Flower stalks are light green, terete, hairless, hollow, and stout.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Pond
    Riparian
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Native Garden
    Rain Garden
    Water Garden
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Moths
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Specialized Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Diseases
    Insect Pests