Growing: Seedlings develop slowly, and may not bloom until their second or third year. These plants need constant moisture, whether planted in rich exposed soil or shallow water. They grow best in water under 12 inches, though they tolerate occasional flooding up to 24 inches. This plant makes an excellent addition to naturally wet areas like marshes, stream beds, and shallow ponds. Since it tends to spread vigorously by rhizomes once established, grow in a container submerged in water if spreading is not wanted. Mature plants can be divided in the spring. This plant attracts bees, butterflies, and dragonflies; water birds and small animals also like to eat the foliage and seeds.
Life Cycle: Perennial
USDA Zones: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11
Sowing: Before planting in the spring, mix the seeds with very wet sand and store in the refrigerator for 30 days before planting. Press into the surface of completely saturated soil such as mud; do not bury the seed. If starting the seed indoors, submerge the growing containers in water up to an inch below the surface of the soil. Germination can be slow and irregular.
If the Pickerelweed could commiserate, it would find a friend with the Natal Plum. The Natal Plum has a deadly relative, the Oleander, which gets all the attention. The Pickerelweed’s close cousin, the Water Hyacinth, is arguably the most despised and expensive weed in the world. While damning the hyacinth few praise the Pickerelweed.
TIME OF YEAR: Blossoms in summer seeds in fall, however in Florida it can bloom from March to November.
Green Deane’s “Itemized” Plant Profile
Hi, are there any down sides to Pickerel? Like the itch of Water Hyacinth? I am doing a small scale (pun intended) fish farming experiment and would like to either eat the extra Pickerel myself or feed it to my rabbits, ducks, chickens or pigs.
Up here in Northern MN the pickerel weed is being managed like an invasive species as it crowds out wild rice beds. Local resource agencies are considering raising water levels & decreasing management of beaver populations in these lakes to try & combat the pickerel weed.
METHOD OF PREPARATION: Seeds, raw or cooked, parched, boiled or roasted, best collected when they fall into your hand off the plant. They make a good flour. I like to lightly roast them and take them on the trail with me. Young unfurled leaves and stalks boiled.