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.
Once cold weather arrives in the late fall, Joe Pye weed goes dormant and dies back. You can either prune the dead foliage to about 4 to 8 inches off the ground at this time or wait until early spring to do this garden cleanup task. The plant blooms on the new season’s growth. So don’t wait until it’s too late in the spring to prune, or it can be difficult to avoid the new growth.
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.
If you wish, you can limit the overall size of your Joe Pye weed by cutting the stems back by half in June. This will cause the plant to send out more stems and encourage shorter, bushier growth. Consequently, you’ll get even more flowers on those new stems.
These plants grow naturally in sites that have somewhat moist soil, such as near streams. So keeping them well watered will generally be the most extensive part of their care. You’ll also have to remove dead growth from the previous year before the new year’s growth begins. And you might have to apply fertilizer if your soil isn’t rich. Plus, if your Joe Pye weed becomes quite tall, it might need staking to keep it upright, especially when it’s heavy with blooms.
If you are growing Joe Pye weed in its native fertile environment, you generally won’t have to feed it. But if you have poor soil, apply a slow-release granule fertilizer for flowering plants in the spring as soon as growth picks up on your plant. Fertilize again in the midsummer when blooms begin to appear. It also can be beneficial to mix compost into the soil around your plant in the spring.
This wildflower is adaptable to different soil conditions. A fairly rich, well-drained soil is ideal. The plant is tolerant of clay soil and wet soil, and mature plants even have some tolerance for drought.
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.