Crop Rotation Group
Fertile soil that holds moisture well, enriched with compost, with a slightly acidic pH.
Full sun to partial afternoon shade.
Yes, Joe Pye weed is a hardy perennial. Well rooted plants tolerate winter cold to -15°F (-26°C).
In spring, topdress the area around Joe Pye weed with a balanced organic fertilizer. Use a deep mulch to help keep the soil moist.
Single Plants: 1' 1" (35cm) each way (minimum)
Rows: 1' 1" (35cm) with 1' 1" (35cm) row gap (minimum)
Sow and Plant
Only a small percentage of Joe Pye weed seeds are viable, so it is best to start with a purchased plant. Improved cultivars such as early-blooming ‘Ruby’ or deep pink ‘Gateway’ are sold in nurseries in spring. Set out plants after the soil begins to warm in spring. Joe Pye weed needs more water than other wildflowers and does best in a naturally moist site. A surface mulch suppresses weeds while making the plants look more attractive.
Our Garden Planner can produce a personalized calendar of when to sow, plant and harvest for your area.
When plants are about 3 feet (1 m) tall, pinching back the primary stem will encourage the development of bushy branches and more flowers. Joe Pye weed is valuable in the butterfly garden because it blooms before most other autumn wildflowers. Joe Pye weed was once used to treat kidney stones, but the practice has not been medically validated.
Gather stems for use in cut arrangements as you need them. Old flower stems age to a dark brown color and can be left until they are knocked down by winter winds.
Powdery mildew and leaf spots are common late in the season, but they do not seriously weaken plants. Joe Pye weed is seldom bothered by deer.
Planting and Harvesting Calendar
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