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.
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.
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.
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.
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.