This plant is sometimes past its prime during the Monarch butterfly migration. Small pollinators will occasionally take over the blooms. It’s a prolific seeder in wet conditions. Although disease-resistant, it can have problems with powdery mildew. Leaves may scorch if the soil dries out.
The cultivar ‘Little Joe’ is a patented plant growing approximately 4 feet tall. It does not not come true from seed.
The plant is a food source for several butterfly species including orange sulphur, pearl crescent, painted lady, giant swallowtail, tiger swallowtail, variegated fritillary, and red admiral.
I was given my first Joe-Pye Weed plant by a gal in Minnesota during a Dave’s Garden plant swap. After that, I was hooked on both Joe-Pye and plant swaps.
Eutrochium is a North American genus of herbaceous flowering plants belonging to the sunflower family. Commonly called Joe-Pye weeds, they’re native to the United States and Canada.
The genus includes all purple-flowering North American species of Eupatorium. Now divided into smaller genera, Eupatorium consists of about 42 species of white-flowering plants from the Northern hemisphere. It is a close relative of Eutrochium which has mostly whorled leaves. Eupatorium has a majority of opposite leaves.
Joe-Pye weed is a tall perennial plant widely known for attracting butterflies and other pollinators to the garden. Colloquially, it’s known by many names, including purple boneset, gravel root, kidney root, mist flower, queen of the meadow, and snakeroot. Native to eastern North American, the plant is also very popular in Great Britain where it is used in garden borders.
PropagationSow seeds in a cold frame or divide plants, both in spring.
‘Little Joe’ is a dwarf cultivar of a species of our native Joe Pye weed. It can reach 3 or 4 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide, and it has the familiar large domes of lavender-pink flowers that attract lots of butterflies in late summer and early fall. Its smaller size makes it a better fit in moist borders, beds, meadows, or roadside plantings.
CareGrow in full sun or part shade in average to moist soil with good drainage.
Noteworthy CharacteristicsA smaller Joe Pye with the same domes of lavender flowers loved by butterflies. U.S. native.
ProblemsSnails, slugs, rust, white smut, leaf spots, Southern blight.