Don't Let this Beauty's Name Fool You
Joe-Pye Weed is a beautiful flower with a marketing problem: Nobody wants to plant a flower called a weed, and this Joe Pye fellow sounds a little unsophisticated. But if you call this flower by its other popular name, Queen of the Meadow, you'll begin to understand the stature this wildflower has among gardeners.
3 Great Things about Joe-Pye Weed
First of all, Joe-Pye Weed is native to North America, and thrives in zones 4-8. So it's hardy enough for most gardens. Second, it blooms late, giving your garden a burst of color when other plants have faded. Third, it attracts many butterflies, including various species of swallowtail.
Wild for Wet Soils
If your yard dips into a low area that collects moisture, you have a potentially good spot for Joe-Pye Weed. This wildflower is commonly found in wetlands and roadside ditches. Growing up to 6 feet tall, it towers over other garden plants. So it's a good choice as a backdrop grouping.
Planting Joe-Pye Weed
Joe-Pye Weed is easy to grow. Just pick a place in full sun where moisture collects. Amend your soil with organic material, such as Miracle-Gro® Organic Choice® Garden Soil. Plant Joe-Pye Weed deeply enough so that the container soil is even with the surface of your garden soil. Water well and add about 3 inches of tree-bark mulch, such as Scotts® Nature Scapes® Color Enhanced Mulch. This will help retain moisture in the soil and keep weeds from competing. If you're planting several, place them about 2 feet apart.
About that Name
Queen of the Meadow makes sense, but Joe-Pye Weed? Legend has it that Joe Pye was a Native American healer who used the plant to help the Massachusetts colonists overcome a bout of typhus. So his name became associated with the wildflower ever since.