Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Wildflower Wednesday: Joe-Pye Weed

Welcome to Clay and Limestone's Wildflower Wednesday celebration. This month's star is Joe-Pye Weed, which has recently undergone a name change from Eupatorium to Eutrochium. What ever the name, they're  big, beautiful rough and tumble wildflowers that bloom in the middle of our hot, humid summers.
Colossal, bodacious, statuesque, and tough are just a few of words I've heard gardeners use to describe one of my favorite summer pollinator magnets.

They are a quintessential Clay and Limestone rough and tumble wildflower and only require a little special care! They do need to be well established (watered in well the first year) to handle a hot, dry summer and even then a planting might need a big gulp of water once a week. I admit, the straight species is tall and can fall over in a heavy rain (we have those in the Middle South) and the foliage is often described as coarse; but, tall plants like the Joes can be cut back to keep them bushy. Their leaves and deep colored stems are assets in my garden, offering contrast and texture next to the small leaved Echinaceas, Coreopsis, Rudbeckias and Phlox.
I almost always prefer the straight species, but, in this case, the species might be too big and too wild for most gardens! Don't despair, they've tamed this beauty without taking away its best characteristics.
This one plant has a lot going on~ color, texture, beauty and wildlife value

Smaller cultivars like E dubium 'Baby Joe', at under three feet might be just what you're looking for or if you have more space E maculatum 'Gateway',  E maculatum 'Phantom' and E dubium 'Little Joe', will stay under 6 feet. You can always cut them back in the early summer, the plant will be bushier, but the flowers will be smaller.

 If you want drama and have the space, go for the straight species.
Joe-Pyes have prominent petal-like rays, but no petals
What about in my garden? 'Baby Joe' is new this year and seems to have settled in. Yes, I do a deep watering once a week if we don't get rain. 'Gateway', 'Phantom', 'Little Joe' and species E fistulosa are well established but, an extended drought will severely impact them, so they also get supplemental watering during our long, hot and humid summer.
They are magnets for butterflies, bumbles, honeybees, and other pollinators
What all the Joe-Pyes have in common (species doesn't matter) are great big mauve/lavender-pink flower heads that bloom late summer into the fall. The flower head is made up of 8 to 20 petal-less disk flowers, each with 2 long stringy styles and 5 tiny lobes
 They're beautiful, bodacious wildflowers.



Easily grown in average soils, they do prefer, moist, fertile, humusy soils in full sun. Do yourself a favor, let the fluffy brown flower heads stand all winter. They make a wonderful winter statement.
Silvery Checkerspot perching on E fistulosum
If you garden for wildlife this is a must have plant, but, you don't have to take my word for it, just watch the pollinators that visit it all day long. 

xoxogail



Just the facts:

Family: Asteracea
Genus: Eutrochium (formerly Eupatorium)
Species: purpureum, maculatum, fistulosa, dubium
Cultivars: 'Little Joe', 'Baby Joe', 'Gateway', 'Purpureum' and 'Phantom'
Color(s): purple, rose flowers
Soil: Fertile, moist, clay, loam, silt
Sun Exposure: Full sun/partial sun/morning shade/evening sun~It will lean toward the sun if it's too shady
Water Needs: Water well first year, does not like drought
Average Height: 3 ft. - 7 ft.
Average Spread: 1 ft. -3 ft.
Attracts: Butterflies, Bees and other pollinators
Native: Native to US and Canada.
Plant Hardiness Zone: 2 - 9
Propagation: Seed, cuttings, division. The florets produce wind-dispersed achenes (small dry seed with hair-like bristles).
How to use: A good looking plant for water's edge, the back of the border or if you're like me, right in the middle of your sunny border.  Looks great with tall native grasses, Rudbeckias, Ironweed, Solidagos and Coreopsis. Attractive fluffy seed heads persist well into winter.
Comments: If you are absolutely opposed to watering and have seriously dry summers, the Joes aren't for you.

Wildflower Wednesday is about sharing wildflowers all over this great big beautiful world. It doesn't matter if we sometimes show the same plants, how they grow and thrive in your garden is what matters most. I hope you join the celebration...It's always the fourth Wednesday of the month!

Thanks for stopping by to help celebrate wildflowers.



Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone. She reminds all that the words and images are the property of the author and cannot be used without written permission.

27 comments:

  1. Joe is blooming up a storm here at Greenbow. I have been thinking about putting him in another place. Maybe I will try one of those shorter ones this time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is a plant I like to repeat in the borders. I like 'Baby Joe' a lot and it seems to be happy and not growing over 3 feet.

      Delete
  2. Hi Gail, when I first started gardening here, I think I got ahold of the native joe pye, which wilted and flopped on a regular basis. I didn't know about cutting back yet. I ended up digging it out. Later, I decided to try 'Gateway'. It also did some wilting and flopping, but didn't get quite as tall, and now that I've been cutting it back in the spring, it does much better. I was able to dig a clump of it out to put in another spot, and it is doing well. I also give them drinks from time to time.

    Last week, I was thinking it was time for WW, so stayed up late getting my photos in a post, then remembered it was the wrong day! I worked on it a couple days ago, and think I am almost finished. I'll go check it out and get it up. Thanks for hosting this, Gail! I want to share the link in Gardening with Nature in Mind on FB, if you haven't yet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love that you participate and please share it anytime!

      Delete
  3. But, where do you get Joe Pye?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ann, you will not find the Joes in many big box stores, so try a very nice independent garden center. I also recommend online nurseries. Check a reputable one that grows their plants in a climate similar to yours.

      Delete
  4. Great minds think alike, Gail! I also wrote about Joe Pye weed for Wildflower Wednesday, in particular my 'Little Joe' Pye weed, which is a lovely plant. I've never cut it back in the spring, like I do the goldenrods and asters and it has still never flopped on me. It's a keeper!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed! 'Little Joe' is a keeper.

      Delete
  5. Joe Pye is making a bold statement right now in my garden! Love this plant. It is sturdy no matter its height and even the strongest winds have never blown it down in my garden. Love when I see it along roadsides too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Donna, you are lucky. I have shallow soil and it can lean over after a heavy rain (we often get an inch of rain in an hour).

      Delete
  6. What a great overview, Gail! This one will definitely be finding a spot in my beds once I start to plant them up in the next year or two...I'm glad you highlighted the smaller version :) And your fact sheet at the bottom of the post is awesome!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Margaret, I hope you are happy with the Joes!

      Delete
  7. I'm also featuring Joe Pye weed as a part of my Backyard Nature Wednesday post, so I'm linking up with you. I enjoyed your information about this valuable plant and your photos are beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for the sweet compliments and for linking up with WW.

      Delete
  8. Hey Gail,

    How long does Joe-Pye bloom for you?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Way into August, but, it's taking a pounding in this heat.

      Delete
  9. We like to think of native plants as "good" and invasives as "bad", but the native plant I'm featuring this month is poisonous. Does that mean I should get rid of it? I don't think the answer is clear cut.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lots of plants are poisonous or have berries that should not be eaten. I would only remove it if children played nearby and they were likely to touch them.

      Delete
  10. My Joe Pye is not yet blooming. Your post has me wondering what variety I have, but alas, I can find no info in my blog or notes. :-(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My wildflower id book discusses stems, leaves etc and is helpful in telling the different Joes apart. Also, Illinois Wildflowers website is helpful. Good luck!

      Delete
  11. I've come to love this plant and wish I could find a spot for a couple more. I remember seeing a large planting of these at a public garden in Rockford; they were swarming with bumblebees--a great advertisement for its attraction to pollinators!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I'm a little late to the party, but glad to have something to share! I remember admiring the banks of the St. Lawrence in Ile d'Orleans outside Quebec City -- they were like a field of joe-pye weed, and butterfly heaven.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's never too late, I leave WW up for a week so folks can join in when ever they like. How beautiful to see a field of Joes!

      Delete
  13. I have a big clump of joe pye that has seeded into my neighbors rain garden and I've begged them not to pull them so I now have a massive patch of joe pye in the garden next door! Woo hoo!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi Gail, after reading your post i am little wonder why My personal Joe Pye is not as yet blooming. wonderful pictures.

    ReplyDelete
  15. been away for three weeks - so my July is very late.
    I have my August post up already - and will add the fresh link when yours goes up.

    ReplyDelete

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails