Quiet ponds and wetlands are excellent growing places for low-maintenance and easy-to-grow pickerel weed. Its blue-green, heart-shape leaves have a waxy feel and provide a backdrop for the plant’s purple-blue flower spikes. The 6-inch-long flowers bloom from the bottom up and decorate the plant nonstop from summer through fall. A valuable source of nectar for bees and butterflies, pickerel weed beckons winged visitors to the garden. Fish often take shelter in pickerel weed and dragonflies and damselflies often lay their eggs on the plant stems near the water.
Growing Pickerel Weed
Add color and interest to a pond or quiet stream by pairing pickerel weed with other wetland or water plants that thrive in slow-moving water. Planting partners for bogs and shallow water include cattail, arrowhead, cardinal flower, and yellow flag iris. These plants, along with pickerel weed, grow well with up to 3 inches of water over their growth point. Good plant partners for deep water include water lily and lotus. An excellent alternative to invasive water hyacinth, pickerel weed has similar blue-purple flowers. Unlike water hyacinth leaves, which float on the water, pickerel weed leaves are upright.
Pickerel Weed Care
Pickerel weed grows best in full sun at the margin of a pond or in a wetland. Thriving in boggy, wet soil, it grows well when submerged in 3 to 5 inches water. In optimal conditions it will spread readily. It is challenging to eradicate due to the wet, boggy growing conditions. If spreading is a concern, plant pickerel weed in a container and submerge the container in the pond.
Plant pickerel weed in spring. Set plant roots in the mud in a bog or pond. Use small stones to hold the roots in place, if needed, as they begin to expand. Pickerel weed is a low-maintenance plant and rarely needs pruning or division. Cut stems back as needed in late fall to prevent excessive debris in lined ponds and streams. Plants will emerge in spring as soon as the water temperature moderates.