Pontederia cordata AGM – pickerel weed

Pontederia cordata
pic of louise sims
Louise Sims

In our garden, our beautiful pool was designed and built by Rob, my husband, so fair enough, he now has jurisdiction over its planting (although I still do the weeding around it!). I therefore look and admire, and when something really catches my eye, I ask for its name and find out more.

This pontederia is a very showy perennial plant from North America: a marginal aquatic that is hardy and best grown in full sun. Its habit is upright and tidy, and it sits well with most other water plants. Its leaves seem to range from spear to heart shape and they are bright green and glossy – very fresh looking. The dense spikes of rich purple blue flowers last over a long period and are loved by dragonflies, damselflies and many other pollinators.

It seems that pickerel weed does not grow in water that is deeper than three feet, and this is what seemed to be bothering Rob a few weeks ago. Being an ex-civil engineer, he takes an exacting attitude to measurements; I pointed out that the plants looked happy, and that all the books say, ‘low maintenance’, but to no avail. There was apparently no way round this problem but to cast four concrete blocks upon which to stand our four pontederia. So far one has been cast, and lowered into place, and his drenched waders stand testimony to this! 

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