jac
Newly Registered
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2008 11:41 pm
Location: Melbourne

Blue Pickerel Dying for Good or Just for Winter?

Hi everyone,
The main reason I've joined this forum is because my water plant's life is on the line and I'm desperate to not have another plant added to the long list of those killed under my supervision!!

This pic was taken 2 weeks ago, so the browning leaves have gotten much worse since then. As you can see, it sits behind glass, facing North (I wondered if it could be burning, but it's the right depth in the pot and the weather's averaging 16C degrees these days). It is a Blue Pickerel.
Any advice is much appreciated!!!

[url=https://img147.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dying1dw0.jpg][img]https://img147.imageshack.us/img147/5156/dying1dw0.th.jpg[/img][/url]
[url=https://img263.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dying2os9.jpg][img]https://img263.imageshack.us/img263/2940/dying2os9.th.jpg[/img][/url]
[url=https://img402.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dying3vu8.jpg][img]https://img402.imageshack.us/img402/1699/dying3vu8.th.jpg[/img][/url]

TheLorax
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Posts: 1416
Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2008 2:40 am
Location: US

That's Pontederia cordata. It's a North American native and it's a marginal. First thing I spot it that you're trying to grow it as an aquatic when it should be grown as a marginal. Next thing I spot is that it appears to have some sort of a pest problem probably because the plant is stressed from the growing conditions.

OK that it's sitting behind glass I suppose but that is a temperate species that requires a dormancy. It also doesn't normally ever get full sun when in the wild where it is often found growing with species that shade it.

jac
Newly Registered
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2008 11:41 pm
Location: Melbourne

Hmmm. The tag on this says plant says it's blue pickerel and that it needs full to filtered sun.....

Since posting I have had advice that this is a normal process and it's just dying off for winter. Thanks for you advice though :)

TheLorax
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Posts: 1416
Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2008 2:40 am
Location: US

Pontederia cordata = Bluepickerel = Blue Pickerel = Pickerelweed
The first name is the scientific name and the others are common names. A plant can have many common names but it will always only have one scientific name.
https://www.ct-botanical-society.org/galleries/pontederiacord.html

I grow this plant. I have about 20, possibly more. I have also recorded them in the wild as they really are a North American native. They are pretty much always found in what would best be described as muck with only about an inch or two of fresh water flowing over the top of them. Emergents/Marginals are found in what would best be described as a transitional zone between aquatic and terrestrial. Sink these plants too deep and try to grow them as an aquatic and there could be issues in the long run.

In the spring before other species begin active growth, they sometimes receive full sun however as summer progresses and companion species and other same species plants begin to take off and fill in with lush sun-blocking vegetation, the plants usually only receive filtered sun. Perhaps this is why the tag says both full sun to filtered sun? I've seen these plants burn if they get full afternoon sun in summer.

A happy plant flowers from mid summer until the end of the season. One of the reasons why I like them so much is because they are repeat bloomers. There's also a white form of this plant which looks really great. I wish I had the white form.

When I look closely at your third photo, I'm seeing white flecks. I don't know what those are but best guess is some sort of a pest. When I enlarged your image, I noticed the white flecks seemed to be embedded into the plant leaves. I've never seen white flecks on a Pontederia cordata before. I also noticed that there was what appeared to be black (bacteria and fungi) in the leaves which is normally associated with the plant dying back or rather entering dormancy, it's just a part of the decomposition process. Normally when these plants die back at the end of the season, the leaves turn yellow as if they are getting too much water then the edges sometimes get crispy before they get mushy and start rotting. Sort of like celery that freezes. It's only June though right now and this doesn't normally happen until sometime in October so I'm somewhat puzzled by dieback at this time of year combined with those white flecks.

Temperate pretty much means its from an area that has seasons so it dies back every year just like deciduous trees drop their leaves every fall. This plant normally begins dieback once the temps begin to drop which coincides with shorter days (reduced photoperiod). I don't know how long you have had this plant but you might want to consider wrapping its roots in damp sphagnum and tossing it in your refrigerator this coming fall. Let it "over winter" in cooler temps until next spring or perhaps move it to a location where temps will be around 40F or 3-5C. Sometimes I dust roots with a little bit of sulfur powder when I have to stick them in a frig to provide a dormancy for them.

Best wishes to you with your plants. They really are beautiful and the blooms are great.

wingdesigner
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Posts: 2038
Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2005 9:58 pm
Location: Michigan--LP(troll)

Oh cripes, I thought we were talking about fish... Lorax is right about the water vs. muck. Planted in too deep in water and it won't be happy. Sorry I can't help about the proper depth, but "marginal" means it grows around the shallower edges of a body of water, not out in the middle. The dormancy period will be pretty important, also. But I wouldn't force dormancy if it has a fungal or pest problem, clear that up first. No plant food, either, until the other areas have been addressed and it has perked up on it's own. Good luck.
Happy Gardening,
Wing

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