18 May 2009

Do You Know Joe Pye?

I have a dozen Joe Pye plants ready to put into the ground but I'm concerned about just the right placement. Over the years, I have bought the plants several times and they failed. So, this year I bought seeds and started them in the shed.

Joe Pye Weed seeds are offered by Parks Seed - this is their photo. Their growing tips? Full sun-Part Shade. Moist-Well Drained soil. OK, that's do-able. The real reason to grow them is their butterfly nectar in the late fall.

Park Seed's site says, "easy to grow and very floriferous!"
The 4- to 4 1/2-foot stalks, which resemble those of Lilies, are topped with large, curving flowerheads composed of many dozens of small blooms, in every shade of purple from lilac to deep royal.
Joe-Pye Weed blooms the first year if the seed is sown early enough, and will naturalize freely to increase its glorious show year after year. It is superb for mixed beds and even borders, but you may want to plant it in a setting where it can spread. The cut flowers are excellent in the vase, too! Asking only full sun and normally- to poorly-fertile soil."

At Kansas Herbs (Dept. of Horticulture, Forestry, and Recreation Resources, and Dept. of Agricultural Economics, Kansas State University), they say that it was named for a New England medicine man who used it to treat typhus. Now the Medicinal Benefits: Not currently listed in the PDR, but folk uses include as diuretic, for urinary tract and kidney stones, prostate problems, menstrual pain, and to ease childbirth.

And - The plant can get very tall, and form large clumps, so don’t plant adjacent to smaller plants or crops that would be crowded out. The flowers are very nice, and this would do well as a background plant, or up against a fence in a backyard flower garden."

Brenda Hyde wrote at Old Fashioned Living that "The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Great Spangled Fritillary, Pearl Crescent, Monarch, and the Tawny-edged Skipper are just some of butterflies known to love Joe-Pye." (Hyde has a cool blog, too. Check it out here
A Garden of Grace and Whimsy.)

Eupatorium Purpureum is actually a weed in some places, but the English love it as a garden plant.

If you have successfully grown Joe Pye and have tips email me at MollyDay1@gmail.com or leave a comment here on my blog. Thanks.

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