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Pontederia cordata

Pickerel weed

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Key information

Plant type


Flower colour






Skill level


photo by Marcus Harpur, copyright GAP Photos (43083)

Plant details

This is a glorious water plant, not least for its conspicuous tight spikes of blue flowers towards the end of the season. It is a North American native, naturally colonising large areas of swamps, and the plants are happiest where they can spread freely in marginal mud. To confine their spread they are best planted in baskets, but make sure they are covered by 23-30cm (9-12in) of water in cold districts to ensure their safety from frost. They also grow well in bog gardens, but should be mulched for protection in early winter. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit.

Family: Pontederiaceae

Genus: Pontederia

Species: cordata

Plant type: Marginal

Flower colour: Blue

Foliage colour: Mid-green

Feature: Flowers

Sun exposure: Full sun

Soil: Boggy

Hardiness: Hardy

Skill level: Experienced

Height: 90cm

Spread: 75cm

Time to divide plants: April to May

Flowering period: August to September

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