Pond Plant Spotlight: Pickerel

Pickerel is a plant which can be found naturally throughout North America and is attractive due to its flowers which are spiked and blue. It blooms from the early part of summer until fall but must be properly cared for otherwise, it can be invasive, the result of its rooting system which is rhizomous.  The good news is that the plant is simple to care for, and as such is an excellent option for beginners.

Plant Characteristics

The spires of this flower may display a soft or deep blue color and will rise a few inches over the body. This makes them outstanding for decoration around your pond. The plant is semi-aquatic and when submerged partially the leaves will float and provide the pond with shade which will shield it from unwanted algae blooms. They also introduce a foliage network which allows fish to conceal themselves.

Despite its appearance, pickerel is a part of the grass family. The plants were first identified and named during the 18th century, and are known by botanists as Pontederia cordata. When growing they will appear in the form of clumps which have stems that are either flat or thick. They have a glossy foliage which will usually be dark green in color with a leaf that is shaped like a heart and which can grow from twenty four to thirty inches in height. The stems on specimens which are mature will display an elegant arch.

Plant Care And Maintenance

This tenacious plant performs best when it is placed in a pot that is submerged, as this will stop excessive spreading. When planting you will want to ensure the rhizomes are divided between winter and early spring. Dig the plant up or take it out of its pot, then use pruner or a soil knife to slice the roots apart, resulting in each part having a few rhizomes and leaves which are healthy. Simply replant those new clumps and they will grow rapidly, boosting the presence of the pickerel weed.

It is also possible to dry and store the plant seeds. It will generally take a few seasons for seeded plants to showcase their flowers, and caring for pickerel after their seeds are germinated will require a combination of frequent sunlight and moisture. This is why you will want to plant them outside during spring. However, even if you make a mistake, these plants are so hardy that they can withstand virtually anything aside from drought or complete shade.

Pickerels perform best when they are maintained in pots which are deep since their roots will stay moist. It is also possible to submerge the whole pot and allow the prominent leaves to float outward. Either way, the soil of your pond should be rich as well as heavy. When the soil is loamy with a pH that is moderately acidic, this creates the most optimal growing conditions. When pickerel is grown inside a pot its soil should be a mixture of peat and topsoil.