Joe Pye Weed

Joe Pye Weed
Plant Type
Sunlight Amount
Joe Pye weed garden
Credit: Mike Jensen
Joe Pye weed garden
Joe Pye Weed

Joe Pye weed makes a wonderful statement piece in any garden. It can reach up to 8 feet tall and wide. As long as you have the space, this native wildflower adds impressive texture to a garden and can even act as a spectacular backdrop for smaller plants. With their deep green foliage and airy purple blooms, these plants are sure to grab a lot of attention in your garden.

genus name
  • Eutrochium
  • Part Sun
  • Sun
plant type
  • 3 to 8 feet
  • 2-8 feet wide
flower color
foliage color
season features
problem solvers
special features
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10

Colorful Combinations

Up close, the blooms of Joe Pye weed look fairly insignificant. But when viewed as a whole, the large clusters are stunning. Hundreds of tiny thread-like petals on huge stalks create wonderful clouds of blooms in late summer and persist all the way into fall. These clouds of blooms are extremely attractive to butterflies and other pollinators, so lots of activity around your garden will be a given with Joe Pye weed. Once the blooms begin to fade, the seeds will ripen and puff up even further to add more late-season interest.

Joe Pye Weed Care Must-Knows

Unlike other native wildflowers that are tricky to cultivate outside of their native conditions, Joe Pye weed is at home in any garden setting. Rich, well-drained soils are ideal for Joe Pye weed, but they are generally pretty adaptable to other soils. Many species are native to areas alongside streams, ponds, and marshes. With that in mind, most species of Joe Pye weed prefer consistent moisture throughout the growing season.

As a general rule of thumb, Joe Pye weed prefers full sun. While there are a few species that grow fine in part sun, most species will begin to flop and can be more susceptible to foliar diseases in shade. Most commonly, powdery mildew can become a problem. Powdery mildew will most likely not kill the plants, however it can affect overall plant health and performance.

Given a name like Joe Pye weed, you might assume that these plants can become weedy. While this isn't the case for most varieties, there are some that spread by seed. To prevent this, deadhead spent flowers before they have the chance to spread. Joe Pye weed is also fairly easy to dig up and divide, making it easy to transplant and share with neighbors in the spring when plants are still small. Water newly divided and transplanted plants well until they are established.

Interested in bringing butterflies to your garden? Joe Pye weed's flowers have a light vanilla fragrance, which attracts helpful pollinating creatures, making this plant perfect for a butterfly garden.

New Names

In recent years, Joe Pye weed has had a few name changes. These plants used to be classified in a genus which held a lot of plants, called Eupatorium. Recently, Eupatorium has been broken down into more accurate groups. The new Eutrochium genus, which holds Joe Pye weed, is filled with plants that are much more closely related.

More Varieties of Joe Pye Weed

Joe Pye weed

Joe Pye weed

Eupatorium maculatum is a striking plant for the back of the border, with 10- to 12-inch rosy flower clusters atop 5- to 6-foot-tall burgundy stems. Zones 3-7

'Gateway' Joe Pye weed
Credit: Denny Schrock

'Gateway' Joe Pye weed

Eupatorium maculatum 'Gateway' is a selection that is slightly shorter than the species, growing 4 to 5 feet tall. Zones 3-7

'Little Joe' Joe Pye weed
Credit: Jay Wilde

'Little Joe' Joe Pye weed

Eupatorium dubium 'Little Joe' is a compact plant that grows 4 feet tall, making it suitable for smaller gardens. Its mauve-purple flowers begin to bloom in midsummer. Zones 3-7

Joe Pye Weed Companion Plants

'Morning Light' miscanthus
Credit: John Reed Forsman


Miscanthus is one of the most prized of ornamental grasses. One particular cultivar, 'Morning Light', sums up much of its appeal: This grass is stunning when backlit by the sun, either rising or setting. Statuesque miscanthus makes dense clumps of arching grassy foliage in an assortment of widths, decoration, and fineness, according to variety. Erect, dramatic plumes of flower spikelets rise among the leaves or well above them and last beautifully through the winter. Site miscanthus with good drainage and plenty of space in sun or light shade.

russian sage silver-leaf plant
Credit: Peter Krumhardt

Russian Sage

With its tall, wispy wands of lavender or blue flowers and silvery foliage, Russian sage is an important player in summer and fall gardens. It shows off well against most flowers and provides an elegant look to flower borders. The aromatic leaves are oblong, deeply cut along the edges. Foot-long panicles of flowers bloom for many weeks. Excellent drainage and full sun are ideal, although very light shade is tolerated. Plant close to avoid staking since the tall plants tend to flop.

feather reed grass
Credit: Bryan E. McCay

Feather Reed Grass

'Karl Foerster' is the best known type of feather reedgrass and boasts all the key elements of this beautiful, useful ornamental grass. While other ornamental grasses tend to arch outward, feather reedgrass tends to grow straight and upright, giving an architectural element to the landscape, even in winter, as long as you leave it standing. Feather reedgrass produces tiny flowers in early summer. Seed heads mature to golden tan by midsummer and remain attractive into fall. Cut back in late winter or early spring as soon as new growth is detected at the base.

Garden Plans for Joe Pye Weed

Fall Garden Plan Illustration
Credit: Illustration by Gill Tomblin

Garden Plans For Joe Pye Weed

Create a burst of fall color in your landscape with this easy-care garden plan.

Click here to get this garden plan.

downspout rain garden plan
Credit: Illustration by Mavis Augustine Torke

Downspout Garden

This garden is up to the high-moisture challenge of the area around a downspout.

Download this free plan now!

garden with birdhouse and bench
Credit: Janet Loughrey

Year-Round Excitement Garden Plan

Use this plan to create a garden that looks great all year long.

Get this garden plan now.

No-Fuss Bird and Butterfly Garden Plan Illustration
Credit: Illustration by Gary Palmer

No-Fuss Bird and Butterfly Garden Plan

Plant this collection of beautiful, easy-growing flowers and your yard is sure to be filled with birds and butterflies.

Click here to get this garden plan!


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