Pontederia Species, Heartleaf Pickerelweed, Pickerel Rush, Pickerel Weed

Pontederia cordata

Family: Pontederiaceae
Genus: Pontederia (pon-te-DARE-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: cordata (kor-DAY-tuh) (Info)
View this plant in a garden


Ponds and Aquatics

Water Requirements:

Very high moisture needs; suitable for bogs and water gardens

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


3-6 in. (7-15 cm)


USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone

Can be grown as an annual


Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Pollen may cause allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

Dark Blue

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Vincent, Alabama

Goodyear, Arizona

Huntington, Arkansas

Prescott, Arkansas

Van Buren, Arkansas

Glendale, California

Vacaville, California

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Bartow, Florida

Boca Raton, Florida

Chiefland, Florida

Clermont, Florida

Ellenton, Florida

Glen Saint Mary, Florida

Hollywood, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida(2 reports)

Lutz, Florida

Miami, Florida(2 reports)

Niceville, Florida

Oldsmar, Florida

Palmetto, Florida

Pomona Park, Florida

Port Saint Lucie, Florida

Cordele, Georgia

Marietta, Georgia

Chicago, Illinois

Springfield, Illinois

Crown Point, Indiana

Indianapolis, Indiana

Barbourville, Kentucky

Rome, Lazio

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana

Violet, Louisiana

Bridgewater, Massachusetts

Waltham, Massachusetts

Dearborn Heights, Michigan

Dexter, Michigan

Mason, Michigan

Lake George, Minnesota

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Byhalia, Mississippi

Piedmont, Missouri

Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey

Buffalo, New York

Croton On Hudson, New York

New Hyde Park, New York

Cincinnati, Ohio

Cleveland, Ohio

Columbus, Ohio

Glouster, Ohio

Millersburg, Pennsylvania

Phoenixville, Pennsylvania

Bluffton, South Carolina

Conway, South Carolina

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Inman, South Carolina

Lexington, South Carolina

Ridgeland, South Carolina

Pocahontas, Tennessee

Austin, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas

Mc Kinney, Texas

Santa Fe, Texas

Spring Branch, Texas

Leesburg, Virginia

Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Aug 13, 2016, tremon123 from Dexter, MI wrote:

Grows in pots in my man made pond. Pond is dug deep below frost line so the plant overwinters at the bottom of the pond with goldfish. This year one plant has become too big and toppled over in the pond. Therefore I took it out and chopped it down to its tubers. Its August now so I put it back in the pond. I will take that one out in the Fall and plant inside in a pot for the winter. I am guessing I will have to keep the pot very wet for this to survive. If so, then I will keep it potted up next spring so it can reside on the deck. Anyone ever kept this plant inside in a pot?


On Mar 1, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This is arguably my favorite water plant. It blooms for a long time in summer, putting out new flower spikes successively when grown in full sun. The foliage is glossy and beautiful.

It can spread aggressively. If that's not wanted, confine its roots. Native range is the eastern half of North America.

This plant has no spines or sharp edges. Pollen is distributed by insects and not by wind, and so it isn't an issue for hayfever sufferers.

Plants spread rapidly, and plants should be initially spaced 2-4 feet apart.


On Mar 3, 2013, joraines from Inman, SC wrote:

I was given about three or four rooted shoots of this by my Dad's neighbor who has a small pond. I stuck it in the muddy soil at the edge of our very large pond in areas receiving full sun and partial shade last year. I was amazed at how fast it spread, how glossy green the leaves were the it flowered for a long time. I love it. it's a wonderful pond edge plant and seems to do well in both boggy soil and in the pond. Can't wait for it to return this year and I welcome its spread.


On Sep 10, 2011, Gyst from Baton Rouge, LA wrote:

I got this plant years ago from a ditch in Morgan City LA where it grows wild and flowers beautifully. It grows well for me in low area in my yard in Baton Rouge, LA which is quite dry 75% of the time. It flowers well, dies back in winter and returns each spring.


On Jan 12, 2010, grrrlgeek from Grayslake, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

Seeds are listed on Plants for a Future site as not only edible, but having an "acceptable nutty flavor", and the entire plant is edible by humans. The plant is also a source of food for wildlife, particularly water fowl.


On Oct 21, 2009, Poetinwood from Council Hill, OK wrote:

Several sites including the respected Kemper Center for For Home Gardening list all parts of the plant as edible.


On Oct 15, 2009, rws441 from Columbus, OH wrote:

I have had Pickerell Weed for three yrs and I love it. It is in a container about 6 in deep and about 24 in diameter and it blooms wonderfully. I put fertilizer tabs in the soil once in the spring, and that is all the care I give it other than making sure that the container is filled with water every 3-4 days


On May 21, 2009, Lily_love from Central, AL (Zone 7b) wrote:

I enjoy these plants. But do respect its reputation of invasiveness, thus they're in a confined tub. The blue inflorescents, flowers are attractive.


On Sep 29, 2008, MRSDOOLITTLE from Crown Point, IN wrote:

Hello, I'm new, found Dave's site, thank god, as I was looking up the name of the plant our Lake Maintenance Mgr. gave me - pickle-weed. Of course, it was the wrong name. Our private development has been planting this plant at the shoreline of public areas on our 2-300 acre lakes, after he sprays to get rid of the plants growing in the lake that bother the boaters. The deepest part of the man-made lakes is only 20 ft. This plant has been growing like crazy! I would take some pictures but the mosquitoes are terrible since the flooding. As soon as I can, I am pulling these plants out. These plants are not to be around people, especially those with breathing problems or allergies. Even family pets, wildlife or fowl. I never saw this plant until it was bought & planted up here. And I'm 52 yrs... read more


On Jun 14, 2008, TexasPuddyPrint from Edinburg, TX wrote:

Saw these plants growing in ditches and waterways during my visit to Brunswick, Georgia. Lots of lovely purple blooms that attracted Black Swallowtail butterflies and various skippers. ~ Cat


On May 24, 2008, Tetrazygia from Miami, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

Found in zones 10 as well.


On Apr 8, 2008, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

I have never seen this species in the wild in Minnesota - overwintering it had failed as the plants tend to die and it rarely blooms. I use pots only because the ponds that I have is premolded so there is no way I can create its natural habitation.


On Sep 1, 2007, 1cros3nails4gvn from Bluffton, SC (Zone 9a) wrote:

grows among canna flaccida, also a SC native, in any water that is not too deep or fast moving. seen in ditches, lagoons, drainage ponds, swamps...any wet freshwater location


On Dec 22, 2004, lmelling from Ithaca, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:

I had this planted in a pot at the edge of our pond with about 6" of water covering the pot. along with some other marginal plants. The pickeral weed thrived through several mild winters and bloomed fairly well each summer. Unfortunately it didn't make it over the harsh winter of 2003-2004 (-25 to -15 for several weeks in our area) and did not reappear last summer.

Pickerel rush/weed takes little care when potted, simply fertilize with a waterlily type fertilizer pill each spring or, if you fertilize more than a couple plants in a small pond, you may not need to fertilze this plant at all as the fertilizer will leach out into the pond anyway.


On Dec 21, 2004, TREEHUGR from Now in Orlando, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I rescued some of this from a nearby lot just as the bulldozers showed up. Stuck it quickly in a moist corner of my yard and didn't touch it. It was pretty dry at that time and it wasn't looking so healthy. Then came the rain and hurricanes and as of about a month ago, it had thrived and spread out a couple of feet. Originally it was just a shovel full. I found out tonight what's it's called thanks to another dave's garden member, NativePlantFan9 but unfortunately I had thought due to it's vigorous growth that it was invasive and I lawn mowered it . It's a FL native found in just about every county.


On Oct 6, 2004, Kelli from L.A. (Canoga Park), CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

Ours doesn't bloom worth a darn.


On Aug 30, 2004, salvia_lover from Modi'in,
Israel wrote:

Very pretty aquatic plant. Grows well here in Israel in garden fish ponds. My neighbor got one this summer and his is doing wonderfully. It hasn't been through a winter yet though, so I can't say how hardy it is in our climate.