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Pickerel weed

Pickerel weed

Pickerel weed

I don't know where the pickerel weed gets its strength from, but it's absolutely stunning.This emergent aquatic, with its leaves and flowers above water and portions of the stem under water, is found typically in shallow, quiet water. The seeds can be eaten like nuts and the young leaf-stalks cooked as greens. Deer also feed on these plants. The common name suggests that this plant, as well as the fish known as pickerel, occupy the same habitat.You might give that headline a second look and wonder why in the world you need a weed in your pond! But truth be told, pickerel weed is actually a graceful and beautiful plant with showy flower spikes growing atop slender, sturdy stems that add visual interest in the water garden. It’s super easy to grow and is available in bluish-purple, pink, and white blooms.

Pickerel

Pickerel weed does more than add color and beauty to a pond. Its sweet nectar attracts butterflies and bees – and dragonflies and damselflies often lay their eggs on the plant stems near the water. When the flowers fade, they give way to starchy seeds which are edible. Consider drying them and adding them to your next batch of homemade granola. Young leaves from the plant can also be consumed and make an interesting addition to summer salads.Since pickerel tends to spread rapidly, it’s best to plant it in an aquatic pot where you can better control its aggressive growth habit. The plant can reach up to three feet in height and makes a beautiful, architectural backdrop along the edges of the pond. Consider placing shorter pond plants in front, like marsh marigold. You’ll rarely need to perform any type of maintenance on a pickerel plant, but you can cut back faded flowers or leaf stems that get bent and flop into the water.

Plant pickerel along the margins of a pond, in a bog, or add it to a rain garden in a sunny location in early spring. Place your young pickerel in a fabric aquatic planter and add fertilizer according to directions. Fill the pot with pond potting media and add a shallow layer of gravel on top to keep the potting media from floating out into your pond. Then set the plant near the edge of your pond in about three to five inches of water. As long as the pickerel gets partial to full sun and doesn’t dry out, you’ll enjoy its pretty blooms from June through October. Pickerel weed is hardy in zones 3 to 10.Pickerel weed grows in shallow water no more than a foot deep. Shiny green lance-shaped leaves emerge in the spring from below the water and eventually grow to 3-5 feet above the surface. Purple-blue 3 to 4 inch long flower spikes can be seen several weeks after the appearance of foliage. Each flower spike holds numerous tubular purple flowers. Individual flowers last only a day, but this repeat bloomer can be enjoyed from spring through fall. (Source:gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu)

 

 

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