Do you want to attract more pollinators to your garden? Do you like butterflies? Do you want a sweet-scented flower that lasts a long time in a vase? Then Joe Pye Weed is the plant for you!
Eupatorium ‘Little Joe’ is a cultivar of a tall, native perennial, and blooms from early August through mid-September in my Zone 5 garden. Advertised to top out at four feet high, mine is an overachiever and routinely grows to a height of over six feet. After four years growing in a cramped corner, it has formed a clump about three and a half feet in diameter.
Joe Pye Weed, named after a medicine man who used the plant to cure typhoid fever, grows best in full sun to light shade and requires moist conditions. It can be cut back in the late fall or early spring–I usually wait until early spring. Its new shoots emerge late in the spring, generally around mid-May. Here is what it looked like one year in mid-June:
‘Little Joe’ has a sweet smell, reminiscent of vanilla. Bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds love it!
The main flower heads consist of tightly packed clusters of pinkish-purple blooms and average six inches in diameter. There are also many secondary, smaller offshoots of blooms along the stems.
Joe Pye makes a great cut flower, mixing well with other natives such as Goldenrod, and lasting up to two weeks in a vase:
I’ve read that clipping the plants down by half in June will result in a shorter plant. I, however, like the height back there in the corner behind by vegetable garden, against the backdrop of boulders, so I’ve never tried it.
After several years, this plant may die back in the center, and will then need to be dug up, divided, and re-planted. I can’t say I’m looking forward to that job! Seeds from ‘Little Joe’ reportedly do not come true; better to try to get new plants via division or root cuttings taken in early spring.
I originally planted ‘Little Joe’ after reading so many raves about it on other garden blogs. Now that I’ve had it for four years, I too love it and add my voice to its praises!
If you have a plant you would like to highlight this week, or any other, please feel free to join in. Just leave a comment below with a link to your post. Cathy and Frank have both contributed this week; you can click on their names to find their beautiful features!