Joe Pye Weed can be divided in early spring or fall.
It might be harder to start them from seeds, but it can be done outdoors in fall or in a greenhouse in early spring. The seeds require 30 days of cold stratification (keep in moist medium in the refrigerator). Do not cover them when planting, as they need light to germinate (may take 2-3 weeks for them to sprout) and keep them moist.
This plant is extravagant with its bundles of mauve/pink, showy, lightly fragrant blooms. In general, they are large (3-6″ across), domed of flat-topped clusters of little tubular disks of flowers. Smaller bunches of flowerheads may develop below on different stems. Typical blooming time is from July to September. The florets are replaced by achenes with tiny tufts of bristly hair that assists them to get scattered by the wind. Plants usually grow from 4-7′ tall or even taller if favorable growing conditions are present. They could be trimmed in spring if it’s desired for them to be to be shorter and bushier, but it might be at the expense of lesser, smaller blooms. Their stems are branched, purple-speckled with notched, lance-shaped, medium green leaves (8-10″ long) that are present in swirls of 3-6. The roots systems are fibrous and rhizomatous.
Which Eutrochium to Plant?
Eutrochium maculatum Native Plant Range
USDA, NRCS. 2016. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov)
If you would love to grow the Spotted Joe Pye Weed, but don’t have a sunny enough spot for it, then you have the option of switching to the Sweet Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium purpureum) which grows in partial to full shade. Both varieties are related to Boneset and they have very similar characteristics. Sweet Joe does not have the purple spotted stems, but it does have deep purple hue at the leaf and flower stem nodules. Also, this one might grow taller and its flower heads are more flat (instead of domed) and vanilla scented.
This is a impressive plant that could be used to add focal interest to many different gardens. Even though it carries “weed” in its name, it is far from being unwanted! It produces beautiful flowers attracting butterflies such as: Monarchs, Swallowtails, Varigated and Gulf Fritillaries, Skippers, Little Glasswings, Red Admirals, Red Spotted Purples, American Ladies and more. Joe Pye Weed (also known as Spotted Joe Pye Weed) is found naturally in thickets, woodlands, marshy areas and pond edges throughout Eastern North America, from Maine to Michigan, south to central Florida and Texas. This variety is hardy in USDA zone 3-9.
Eutrochium maculatum is a herbaceous perennial from the Ateraceae family. Formerly, it was known as Eupatorium maculatum and you will often see this name in place of Eutrochium.
Joe Pye Weed Seeds 6935 (Eupatorium maculatum). This is one of our showiest native plants. Joe Pye Weed is another Carolinian Canada species that’s a bee, butterfly and hummingbird favourite. Tall single stemmed plants average 120 cm (4′) height and are loaded with fluffy, vanilla scented, showy purplish-white blooms for several weeks in July and August. Flowers form in terminal domed clusters up to 30 cm (12″) wide. A good wetland meadow plant as it tolerates constantly moist soils – also found along stream banks and marsh edges. Best in full sun but it will tolerate part shade. Perennial hardy to Zone 3.
4,400 seed/gram. Start seed indoors in a soil-less medium any time in late winter. Barely cover seed, moisten the growing medium and then place the container in a fridge or freezer for 3-4 weeks before bringing it back into the warmth. Keep at 15 C (60 F) for the 20 to 30 day (sometimes longer) germination period. After germination, grow on under lights at the same temperature then harden off and transplant outside to a sunny site with moist soil. Better yet, sow directly outdoors in mid-October in the site where it is to grow. This will allow dormant seed to be naturally stratified during the winter. This plant is slow growing and requires two years to flower when grown from seed.