|E dubium 'Little Joe'
I can't tell you when E fistulosum came to live in my garden but, I've loved it dearly from the first time I saw it in bloom in a wilderness area dozens of years ago. It's a tall drink of water that tops out at about 10 feet in my garden, but, can be even taller in the wild. I think of it as one of my rough and tumble wildflowers.
What all the Joe-Pyes have in common are great big mauve/lavender-pink flower heads that bloom almost all summer and into the fall. They are also magnets for butterflies, Bumbles and other pollinators. The flower heads are perfect feeding and perching stations for the many butterflies that seek out its nectar.
I strongly recommend it for every wildflower, butterfly and ornamental garden. This one plant has a lot going on~ color, texture, beauty and wildlife value.
You're right, it's not perfect! It needs to be well established to handle a hot, dry summer and even then it 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 and the foliage is often described as coarse; but, tall plants like Vernonias and Joe-Pye-Weeds can be cut back to keep them bushy and the leaves and deep colored stems offer contrast and texture that gardens often need. Having said all that, it still goes on my list of highly recommended wildflowers.
Trust when I tell you that you don't have to worry about taming your species Joes. They've already been tamed! There are marvelous cultivars that will fit in any garden. Try the cultivar 'Baby Joe', for your smaller garden, at under three feet it's just right; 'Gateway' or 'Little Joe', will stay under 6 feet, you'll get presence without the super height; or, if you have the space and want drama, go for the straight species.
Just the facts:
Genus: Eutrochium (formerly Eupatorium)
Species: purpureum, maculatum, fistulosa, dubium
Cultivars: 'Little Joe', 'Baby Joe', 'Gateway', 'Purpureum'
Color(s): purple, rose flowers
Soil: Fertile, moist, clay, loam, silt
Sun Exposure: Full sun/partial sun/morning shade/evening sun
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
USDA Plant Hardiness Zone: 2 - 9
Welcome to Clay and Limestone's Wildflower Wednesday celebration. WW is about sharing and celebrating wildflowers from all over this great big, beautiful world. Join us on the fourth Wednesday of each month. Remember, it doesn't matter if they are in bloom or not; and, it doesn't matter if we all share the same plants. It's all about celebrating wildflowers. Please leave a comment when you add your url to Mr Linky.
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.