Do You Know Joe?

Submitted a year ago
Created by
Henry Homeyer

Joe Pye Weed Is Not a Weed!

For a few weeks I’ve been enjoying a big, bodacious perennial called Joe Pye Weed. I have the native Joe Pye Weed, a wildflower, growing alongside my stream. And I have a cultivated variety, one called ‘Gateway’ which is even more bodacious. Although the tag on a pot of Gateway at a nursery probably would say, “grows to be 5 to 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide”, I have some clumps that are 8 feet tall and 10 feet wide.

Joe Pye Weed blooms for weeks.

Joe Pye Weed will grow in ordinary garden soil, but prefers moist, dark soil full of organic matter. In dry soils, it is smaller. Full sun is ideal, but I have it growing in a half a day of shade and it is thriving.

Wild Joe Pye weed is not as striking or as tall

The blossoms of Gateway Joe Pye Weed are a rich deep pink growing on dark purple stems. The wild variety has faded pink blossoms. The small individual flowers are clustered in panicles that can be up to 18 inches wide. I don't find it lasts long in a vase.

'Gateway' Joe Pye is terrific.

Plant Joe where you want him. I decided to move one once, and I spent an afternoon with a shovel and pickax digging it out. I ended up exhausted and covered in mud, but I did get it all out. I've heard that there is now a variety called 'Little Joe', but I haven't tried it. Yet. 

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