Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Little Joes

Two species of tall, pink-flowered Eupatorum, Joe pye weed, grow in my area maculatum and purpurea. Spotted Joe pye weed, maculatum has flat topped flower clusters at five feet tall. Sweet Joe pye weed, purpurea has dome shaped clusters at seven feet tall. Commonly called Eupatorum in the nursery trade they are now classified as Eutrochium. 

Joe pye weed is an integral component of the modern perennial garden. I have grown this autumn flowering perennial in many gardens where it adds height and attracts many insects, especially butterflies. These upright growers provide strong structure, emerge late, they quickly grow in a continental climate. 

A mass of Little Joe
I have also added two little Joe pye weeds, Little Joe and Baby Joe.  Little Joe, Eutrochium dubium grows in similar conditions to the large species, moist fertile soils, it reaches a mature height of four feet.  E. dubium is commonly called Coastal Plain or Eastern Eutrochium, Baby Joe is another selection of dubium growing to 2-3 feet.

Best in a consistently moist site, the leaves will curl and scorch if too dry. The plants are deer and rabbit resistant. Eutrochiums tolerate alkaline to acidic soils in full sun to partial shade. Do not cut back plants in the fall, they provide excellent winter interest and forage for many birds.
Both little "Joes" are licensed, propagation is prohibited without permission.

A mass in fall color

A young Joe among Siberian Iris
Baby Joe

White flowered species now make up the genus Eupatorium. This spring I plan to purchase a couple selections of Eupatorium fortunei, they also have deep pink flower clusters. "Pink Frost' has variegated foliage. 'Pink Elegance' and 'Fine Line' are all bushy and roughly three feet tall.

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