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growing joe pye weed from seed

It serves as an attractive, cheery, sprawling plant with a number of uses in the landscape. However, plant owners must not allow it to become invasive.

The flowers resemble berries and look attractive in a bright pinkish-purple shade. This species grows in moist woods and bottomlands in the American Northeast.

#1 – Eastern Joe Pye Weed

This hardy native perennial grows in great abundance across North America, in the eastern US, the New England area and southern Canada. It does well in USDA zones 4 through 9.

Joe Pye weed leaves look quite narrow at the base and widen dramatically toward the center. The stem bears small purple spots, and the flowers show a dusty pink color.

In natural medicine, you can use Joe Pye Weed in a number of different ways. The roots are considered especially beneficial and are gathered to be dried, ground and brewed as an herbal tea tonic.

Joe Pye weed (Eutrochium purpureum) is a late-blooming wildflower that’s native to eastern and central North America. It generally grows in upright clumps that reach several feet tall. Its thick stems have lance-shaped, serrated dark green leaves that can be up to a foot long. And in the midsummer tiny mauve flowers bloom in large clusters atop the stems. These flowers have a sweet vanilla scent and are especially attractive to butterflies and other pollinators. Joe Pye weed is best planted in the spring after the threat of frost has passed. The plant has a fast growth rate.

There are no serious issues with pests or diseases. Powdery mildew is the most common problem that arises, a fungal disease that causes the foliage to become discolored with white splotches.   Warm, dry climates and poor air flow can trigger it. Apply a fungicide promptly to prevent the powdery mildew from spreading, and remove infected portions of the plant.

Joe Pye Weed Care

Joe Pye weed is a fairly low-maintenance plant, and it’s quite rewarding to grow due to its notable size and fragrant blooms. It does need space when you first plant it to accommodate its height and spread. But it can look great planted along borders, in wildflower gardens, and at the back of plant groupings to provide height.

Joe Pye weed grows best in full sun to partial shade. Too much shade can impede growth and cause the plant to flop over. Shady conditions also can make the plant susceptible to disease. However, Joe Pye weed typically will appreciate some protection from hot afternoon sun, especially in the summer months. Too much strong sun can cause yellowing of the leaves.

Joe Pye weed is fairly hardy both to cold and to heat within the climates of its growing zones. Frost will cause the plant to begin dying back to the ground for the winter. Humidity (or lack thereof) typically isn’t an issue as long as the soil remains moist.

‘Gateway’ is one of the most popular Joe Pye Weed varieties and common to find at many nurseries. I use this species at the back of my flower garden since it grows incredibly tall. It serves as a beautiful backdrop for the rest of my flowers!

The tall plumes of Joe Pye Weed offer a stellar backdrop for other flowers. They don’t bloom until late summer or early fall, but their height means you can plant them behind smaller, earlier blooming varieties.

There are 5 species of wild Eutrochium found in North America:

You can also help prevent powdery mildew by keeping your soil healthy. Make sure to use mulch, and add good quality compost at least once per year. You should also leave plenty of space between plants to allow for good air circulation.

Here is a video that provides some other ways to prevent and treat powdery mildew:

To direct sow Joe Pye Weed, scatter seeds across the bed and lightly rake them in. Keep the soil moist until the ground freezes.