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.
|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.
|Joe-Pyes have prominent petal-like rays, but no petals|
|They are magnets for butterflies, bumbles, honeybees, and other pollinators|
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 |
Just the facts:
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.