Eupatorium maculatum (Purple Joe Pye Weed) - Plugs$8.95
Purple Joe-Pye Weed is a very garden-worthy native wildflower. It is a very widespread species, and can be found here and there east of the Great Basin and even up into the Pacific Northwest. It seems to be most common in the Great Lakes and New England, where it can be found in moist meadows and riparian habitats.
Purple Joe-Pye Weed grows 36-48 inches tall, making it easier to integrate in plantings than Hollow-Stem Joe Pye Weed (E. fistulosum). It has deeper-colored flowers than the latter, and slowly spreads by creeping rhizomes to form a tight clump.
Purple Joe-Pye Weed is a very attractive wildflower to include in both naturalistic plantings and in perennial borders. The flowers are fragrant with a nice floral scent, attracting butterflies and other pollinators.
Purple Joe-Pye prefers moist soils in full sun, although a spot at the edge of the woods where the sunlight is more abundant is tolerated as well. For best form and flowering, at least 4 hours of direct sun per day is needed.
How to Grow Purple Joe-Pye Weed
Purple Joe-Pye Weed is easy to grow, and mixes well with other traditional perennials. It isn't aggressive at all, and typically maintains a tight clump.
The plants seem to emerge late in the spring, often causing the gardener to wonder if they're still there, so some careful planning may be needed to prevent a gap in the garden in the early spring.
Space Purple Joe-Pye Weed 30 inches apart in rich, moist soil, and water well in times of drought. The plants can be divided every 3-4 years, and this helps them maintain their vigor in the garden.