Harvesting Joe Pye Weed Seeds

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Joe-Pye weeds (Eutrochium spp.) are early fall blooming wildflowers that colonize roadside ditches in sunny, moist sites. These native perennial plants… Tom’s Blog Yesterday I spent an hour or so collecting woodland Joe Pye weed ( Eupatorium purpureum ). This species is relatively similar to the wetland Joe Pye weed ( E. maculatum ), but less Joe Pye weed wildflowers has often been used for curing fevers and other sicknesses. Place an order on these non-GMO seeds online at Everwilde Farms!

Joe-Pye Weed

Joe-Pye weeds (Eutrochium spp.) are early fall blooming wildflowers that colonize roadside ditches in sunny, moist sites. These native perennial plants grow to 4 – 6 feet tall and bloom along with goldenrods (Solidago spp.), ironweeds (Vernonia fasciculata), and our native grasses to make a beautiful autumn display. The flowers are mildly fragrant and very attractive to butterflies and other beneficial insects.

Joe-Pye weed was originally classified in the genus Eupatorium but was recently (2000) placed into the genus Eutrochium. Five species of Eutrochium naturally occur in the Southeast, and all are referred to as Joe-Pye weeds:

  • E. dubium – Three nerved Joe-Pye weed. (common in the lower portion of SC and uncommon in the Upstate),
  • E. fistulosum – Hollow stem Joe-Pye weed (common in the Upstate of SC, but uncommon in the lower half of the state),
  • E. maculatum var. maculatum Spotted Joe-Pye weed (does not naturally occur in SC),
  • E. purpureum var. carolinianum – Carolina Joe-Pye weed (occurs rarely in the Upstate of SC),
  • E. purpureum var. purpureum – Purple node Joe-Pye weed (common in the Upstate of South Carolina, but uncommon in the lower half of the state),
  • E. steelei – Appalachian Joe-Pye weed (does not naturally occur in SC).

Although not all Eutrochium species are naturally found in South Carolina, all of these species should grow well over the majority of the state, and improved cultivars of the first four species listed are also found in the nursery trade. Joe-Pye weeds are cold hardy plants and grow well in USDA Zones 4 to 8.

Joe-Pye weed (Eutrochium purpureum var. purpureum) flowers are fragrant and attract many pollinating insects, especially butterflies.
Joey Williamson, ©2017 HGIC, Clemson Extension

Cultivars

There are a number of cultivars of the various Eutrochium species, where many are shorter than the original species, have better powdery mildew resistance on the foliage, and have better flower production. Approximately 13 cultivars of E. dubium, E. maculatum, and E. fistulosum are currently on the market. The six cultivars below were rated highest 1 for best green leaf color, stem color (often purple), superior flower production and color, powdery mildew resistance, winter hardiness, and attractive growth habit (such as, compactness and stiffer upright form).

  • E. dubium ‘Baby Joe’ PP#20,320; plant trial size: 60 x 54”; good powdery mildew resistance; excellent flower production & light purple flower color.
  • E. dubium ‘Little Joe’ PP#16,122; plant trial size: 60 x 36”; excellent powdery mildew resistance; excellent flower production & purple flower color.
  • E. fistulosum ‘Carin’; plant trial size: 80 x 42”; good powdery mildew resistance; excellent flower production & pale pink flowers.
  • E, fistulosum ‘Bartered Bride’; plant trial size: 90 x 43”; good powdery mildew resistance; excellent flower production & white flowers.
  • E. maculatum ‘Phantom’; plant trial size: 54 x 64”; good powdery mildew resistance; excellent flower production & purplish-pink flowers.
  • E. maculatum ‘Purple Bush’; plant size: 64 x 50”; good powdery mildew resistance; excellent flower production & purple flowers.

The ultimate height of these cultivars is directly influenced by the amount of sunlight received, how consistent the soil moisture is, and the degree of soil fertility. For example, in a trial study ‘Baby Joe’ Joe-Pye weed grew to 5 feet tall, but nursery descriptions of this cultivar’s height are often listed as 3 – 5 feet, 3 – 4 feet, or as low as 2 – 3 feet tall. The same is true for the other cultivars. However, if a Joe-Pye weed species or cultivar grows too large for a specific landscape plan, the stems can be cut halfway down by mid-June. The plant will then re-sprout and be shorter, but more full and with more flower heads.

Landscape Use

Joe-Pye weeds need a soil that is consistently moist the first year for establishment and that contains at least some organic matter. They can tolerate more drought in subsequent years, but do thrive in drainage ditches that are more moist than the typical surrounding soils. Joe-Pye weeds are generally tall plants and most effectively are planted toward the rear of landscape gardens. They combine well with ironweed (Vernonia fasciculata), which is also equally tall and with dark purple flowers; goldenrods (Solidago spp.), with golden yellow blooms; and native asters (Aster novae-angliae and A. laevis), with lavender petals and yellow centers.

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Propagation

Seed: Joe-Pye seed heads can be collected in late September. Cut a seed head, place it upside down in a large, brown paper bag, and hang the bag in a well-ventilated room for the seeds to finish maturing and drop into the bag. The seeds can be planted directly in the soil during the fall, or they can be stored in a sealed bag or jar in the refrigerator until sown. If planted in the fall, young plants will appear in the spring. Keep seedbed moist for both germination and growth of seedlings, which will flower the second season.

Division: Mature plants are best divided in the fall after they go dormant. Each plant will have numerous stems arising from a wide crown with a fibrous root system. To divide the crown, place a sharp shovel between the stems and force it downward to cut, and then separate pieces of stems along with their portion of the crown and roots. Replant the separated piece at the same depth as it was originally, and then mulch and water to settle the soil.

Problems

Powdery mildew (the grayish-white fungal coating on the foliage) is a common problem on many Joe-Pye weeds, such as on this roadside Eutrochium purpureum var. purpureum.
Joey Williamson, ©2017 HGIC, Clemson Extension

Joe-Pye weeds are relatively free of disease or insect pest problems, except for powdery mildew on the foliage. This is especially more of a problem on the straight species, i.e., when it is not an improved cultivar. Powdery mildew reduces the photosynthetic ability of the foliage (i.e., the ability to manufacture carbohydrates), as well as causes the leaves to desiccate (i.e., to dry up and die). Several fungicides will control powdery mildew on Joe-Pye weed, as well as on other perennials. For examples of both cultural controls that reduce disease incidence and fungicides with specific products, please see HGIC 2049, Powdery Mildew.

Originally published 02/17

If this document didn’t answer your questions, please contact HGIC at [email protected] or 1-888-656-9988.

Author(s)

Joey Williamson, PhD, HGIC Horticulture Extension Agent, Clemson University

This information is supplied with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement of brand names or registered trademarks by the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service is implied, nor is any discrimination intended by the exclusion of products or manufacturers not named. All recommendations are for South Carolina conditions and may not apply to other areas. Use pesticides only according to the directions on the label. All recommendations for pesticide use are for South Carolina only and were legal at the time of publication, but the status of registration and use patterns are subject to change by action of state and federal regulatory agencies. Follow all directions, precautions and restrictions that are listed.

Tom’s Blog

Yesterday I spent an hour or so collecting woodland Joe Pye weed ( Eupatorium purpureum ). This species is relatively similar to the wetland Joe Pye weed ( E. maculatum ), but less colorful and better adapted to woodland areas. It is a strikingly tall species that has become established in those parts of our savannas which have more closed canopy (50% or even a bit more).

The best stands of E. purpureum are north of our North Fire Break, just before the steep drop off into the oak woodland. I used the Kawasaki Mule to get in there, and it was an enjoyable day, quiet and peaceful. I got two buckets full of seed heads.

Although the flower heads seem fairly dry, they still need to be dried a few days by spreading them out on a tarp. Once dry, the seeds must be cleaned before using. It is fairly easy to clean the seeds. Just put the flower heads on top of a piece of fairly course screening (available from a hardware store) and scrape them back and forth. The seeds fall through, and the empty stems can be thrown away. Store the seeds in a dry place in a grocery bag until time to plant.

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While I was seed collecting, I was also keeping my eye out for small buckthorn that needed spritzing or basal barking. Fortunately, the buckthorns were fairly scattered here, and I proably only treated a couple dozen plants. I carried a spray bottle in my belt pack. We’ll be back in this area in the winter for more extensive buckthorn work. Hopefully, this will be a low snow year so that we can get some work done!

Joe Pye Weed Seeds

Sowing: Direct sow in late fall, pressing the seeds into the surface of the soil since they need light to germinate. For spring planting, mix Joe Pye weed wildflower seeds with moist sand and store in the refrigerator for 60 days before direct sowing. To start Eupatorium Maculatum seeds indoors, scatter the seed on the surface of the soil in a flat; compress the soil slightly and keep it lightly moist until germination, which is naturally slow but should take place within 2-3 months. Keep the soil consistently moist, and transplant seedlings as soon as they reach a height of several inches.

Growing: Keep seedlings watered, since they need even moisture in their first year of development; they may not bloom until their second year of growth. Mature plants can tolerate drought, though they reach their full potential in moist, well-drained soil. This plant may spread by rhizomes and self-seeding, and can be divided after several years of growth. Cut the plant down to the ground after the first frost. This plant attracts butterflies and bees.

Harvesting: For fresh flowers, cut long stems of flowers that have just opened and place them in water immediately; strip the leaves that will fall below the water.

Seed Saving: Late in the season, these fuzzy flowers will begin to turn dull brown. Snip off entire heads and spread them out in a protected location to prevent the light seed from blowing away. When the heads have completely dried, shake them to remove the seed. The fluff attached to the seeds does not affect germination. Store Joe Pye weed wildflower seeds in a cool, dry place.

FAST FACTS

Common Names: Spotted Joe Pye Weed

Latin Name: Eupatorium maculatum

Species Origin: US Native Wildflower

Type: Native Wildflowers

Life Cycle: Perennial

USDA Zones: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

US Regions: Mountain, Arid/Desert, Plains/Texas, Midwest, Northern, Northeast, Southeast

Seeds per Ounce: 86,600

Stratification: Cold/Wet for 4 Weeks

Germination Ease: Stratify 4 Weeks

Sunlight: Full Sun, Part Sun

Height: 60 Inches

Color: Pink

Bloom Season: Blooms Late Summer, Blooms Early Fall

Uses: Attracts Pollinators, Attracts Honeybees, Attracts Butterflies, Aromatic, Deer Resistant

Germinated Even Though I didn’t follow the directions

As a first year gardener I wanted to plant native perennials in my garden for tall blooms next year. I was getting close to my estimated first frost date of 10/15 and wanted to have these planted in ground immediately. I sowed these on 9/2/2021 in ground and in trays. I didn’t see any germination within the first couple of days like I normally did with other seeds I’d tried. I was starting to get concerned and read the packet again. I was supposed to cold stratify these! I figured I had lost the seeds and would need to try again next year. Well it’s 9/13/2021 and my tray seedlings have germinated. I was shocked since it’s not the recommended method of seeding but I’m very happy. I overseeded since the seeds are so tiny and I have about 6 seedlings. I hope they make it to next year but I got more than I deserve considering I didn’t follow directions. And if you’re wondering these weren’t mixed up with others seeds and no seeds overwashed into the cells. Zone 6B.

Garden Seeds

Very quickly shipped in good condition!

Joepyeweedserds

Haven’t open the pack yet. I really like that the instructions on the pack will take the guest work out of stratifying and planted. Very helpful.

Thank you for the great seeds and how the are packaged.

The package tell you everything you need to know to successfully grow your seeds. Great company.

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Joe Pye Weed

Always great customer service and quick shipping.

Everwilde always ships quick and has great customer service. Just wish they had a larger selection of annual flowers, but we like what they do have.

arrived in great packing

have not planted yet but arrived in great packing

Joe Pye Weed seeds

Another first for me. Excited and looking forward to getting my seeds planted. Thank you!

In-stock!

I looked for Joe Pye Weed Plants and then seeds for at least a month before coming across Everwilde Farms. I was so excited to see that they carried Joe Pye Weed seeds and that they were in-stock! Chilled then as directed and just planted them this week. I can’t wait to see how they do and plant them before the first frost .

This was the first time i ordered from Everwilde Farms very impressed with their quick service & quality packaging! I’ve already placed another order for fall garden seeds! Will definitely be a regular customer!

DESCRIPTION

IN-STOCK ORDERS SHIP THE NEXT BUSINESS DAY VIA THE US POST OFFICE.

This showy native wildflower abounds in wetland areas, and it is so aromatic that it continually has butterflies hovering around it. Named for an 18th century Native American, this plant was used for curing fevers and other sicknesses.

According to legend, an 18th century healer named Joe Pye often used this plant for curing fevers and other sickness. Early settlers used this plant in the treatment of typhus, while Native Americans used it to cause the body to sweat. The genus name “Eupatorium” comes from a connection to an ancient Greek king named Eupator, who was rumored to have found an herbal antidote to poison that included this species. Though it has become increasingly rare in the wild, it can still be found occasionally in moist areas such as swamps and riverbanks.

HOW TO GROW

Sowing: Direct sow in late fall, pressing the seeds into the surface of the soil since they need light to germinate. For spring planting, mix Joe Pye weed wildflower seeds with moist sand and store in the refrigerator for 60 days before direct sowing. To start Eupatorium Maculatum seeds indoors, scatter the seed on the surface of the soil in a flat; compress the soil slightly and keep it lightly moist until germination, which is naturally slow but should take place within 2-3 months. Keep the soil consistently moist, and transplant seedlings as soon as they reach a height of several inches.

Growing: Keep seedlings watered, since they need even moisture in their first year of development; they may not bloom until their second year of growth. Mature plants can tolerate drought, though they reach their full potential in moist, well-drained soil. This plant may spread by rhizomes and self-seeding, and can be divided after several years of growth. Cut the plant down to the ground after the first frost. This plant attracts butterflies and bees.

Harvesting: For fresh flowers, cut long stems of flowers that have just opened and place them in water immediately; strip the leaves that will fall below the water.

Seed Saving: Late in the season, these fuzzy flowers will begin to turn dull brown. Snip off entire heads and spread them out in a protected location to prevent the light seed from blowing away. When the heads have completely dried, shake them to remove the seed. The fluff attached to the seeds does not affect germination. Store Joe Pye weed wildflower seeds in a cool, dry place.

FAST FACTS

Common Names: Spotted Joe Pye Weed

Latin Name: Eupatorium maculatum

Species Origin: US Native Wildflower

Type: Native Wildflowers

Life Cycle: Perennial

USDA Zones: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

US Regions: Mountain, Arid/Desert, Plains/Texas, Midwest, Northern, Northeast, Southeast

Seeds per Ounce: 86,600

Stratification: Cold/Wet for 4 Weeks

Germination Ease: Stratify 4 Weeks

Sunlight: Full Sun, Part Sun

Height: 60 Inches

Color: Pink

Bloom Season: Blooms Late Summer, Blooms Early Fall

Uses: Attracts Pollinators, Attracts Honeybees, Attracts Butterflies, Aromatic, Deer Resistant

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