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The Eutrochium genus has several species that are all known collectively Joe Pye weed, and several are cultivated as garden plants, especially Eutrochium purpuream ("purple Joe Pye weed" or "sweet Joe Pye weed"), and Eutrochium maculatum (spotted Joe Pye weed). Eutrochium purpureum is a late-blooming wildflower that’s native to eastern and central North America. It generally grows in upright clumps that reach up to 7 feet. E. maculatum has a natie range that extends further west to the Great Plains, with flowers that are somewhat more purplish. These species are very similar, however, and are often confused with one another.
Joe Pye weeds have thick stems with lance-shaped, serrated dark green leaves that can be up to a foot long. And in the midsummer, tiny mauve or pink-purple flowers bloom in large clusters atop the stems. Although it's often considered just a roadside week, Joe Pye weed has a sweet vanilla scent that is especially attractive to butterflies and other pollinators, and it has become an increasingly popular plant for native gardens. Joe Pye weed is best planted from potted nursery plants in the spring after the threat of frost has passed. It has a fast growth rate, usually flowering in its first season.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 plenty of space to accommodate its height and spread. These plants grow naturally in sites that have somewhat moist soil, such as near streams or in drainage ditches. So keeping them well watered will generally be the most extensive part of their care. And you might have to apply fertilizer if your soil is very poor. If your Joe Pye weed becomes quite tall, it might need staking to keep it upright, especially when it’s heavy with blooms.
Joe Pye weed grows best in full sun to partial shade. Too much shade can encourage legginess and cause the plant to flop over. Shady conditions also can make the plant susceptible to disease. However, Joe Pye weed also appreciates some protection from the hot afternoon sun, especially in the summer months. Too much strong sun can cause yellowing of the leaves.If you are growing Joe Pye weed in its native fertile environment, you generally won’t need to feed it at all. But if you have poor soil, apply a slow-release granule fertilizer formulated for flowering plants in the spring as soon as active new growth begins. 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. (Source: www.thespruce.com)