According to Allan Armitage "Joe Pye is said to have been a North Carolina Indian who used these plants to cure many ailments, including typhoid fever and the plants become known as Joe Pye's weed."
This large late season perennial adds great structure to the garden and is wonderful for your borders or as a background plant. Some species have more pronounced purple colored stems or leaves and can be an excellent addition to the color palate of your summer garden. Lasting nearly until frost, this tall, handsome plant with large umbels of flowers also acts as a host for butterflies. Blooming from mid-summer to fall, it brings a look of abundance to the late summer garden.
Some of our favorite varieties:
Eupatorium capillifolium 'Elegant Feather'
A tender Eupatorium with graceful feathery foliage. Grows 48-84" high and 36" wide in full to part sun. Zone 8.
Eupatorium dubium 'Little Joe'
One of the compact varieties. Green foliage attached to a purple stem is perfect for showing off the large clusters of mauve-pink flowers. Hardy to USDA zone 4-9. Grows to 36-48''tall and about the same spread.
Eupatorium purpureum subsp. maculatum 'Atropurpureum'
This variety gets 4-7 ft tall and 3 ft wide. Foliage is green, textured attached in whorls to purplish black stems. The blooms are reddish purple about 1.5 ft wide. Hardy to USDA zone 3-8.
Eupatorium purpureum subsp. maculatum 'Gateway'
This reliable variety of Eupatorium gets 6ft tall and 3ft wide. It has large green, textured leaves and purplish black stems with very large rose-mauve blooms. Hardy to USDA zone 3-8.
Eupatorium rugosum 'Chocolate'
This white blooming variety of Eupatorium has chocolate purple foliage and shiny purple stems. It grows to 3-4 ft tall and 2.5 ft wide. Hardy to USDA zone 4-9.
Origin: Found in Europe, North Africa, Central Asia and eastern North America. Common Name: Joe-Pye Weed, Hardy Ageratum
Culture: Prefer soils high in organic matter (fertile). Likes to be evenly moist while getting established, but afterward is fairly drought tolerant. Needs some water in the summer during the heat waves. Prefer sun or part shade locations in the garden. Eupatorium rugosum 'Chocolate' needs more sun then others for better development of color.
Maintenance: If you would like Eupatorium to be shorter and bloom later in the season, pinch back the stems in May or June. Cut back during fall/winter clean up when the plant is dormant. If planted in the open windy areas the plant might need to be staked for support. Leaving the seed heads after bloom period will add longer seasonal interest. Keep in mind that if you do so blooms will mature, become fertile, and will reseed.
Pests: Leaf miners
Diseases: Mildew, leaf spot
Propagation: Division in winter and spring; some varieties self-sow