About Joe Pye Weed: 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.
Joe Pye Weed Germination: Direct sow in late fall, pressing the seeds into the surface of the soil since they need light to germinate. For spring planting, mix the seeds with moist sand and store in the refrigerator for 60 days before direct sowing. To start 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 Joe Pye Weed Seeds: 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 Joe Pye Weed: 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.
Saving Joe Pye Weed Seeds: 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 the seeds in a cool, dry place.
Detailed Joe Pye Weed Info: Origin: US Native Other Common Names: Spotted Joe Pye Weed, Queen of the Meadows, Gravel Root Duration: Perennial Bloom Time: Summer-Fall Height: 7-8 feet Spacing: 18-24 inches Light: Full Sun to Part Shade Soil Moisture: Moist to Wet USDA Zone: 3a-8b Seeds Per Oz: 86,600 Produces 8-10” toothed, textured leaves on maroon stems and large clusters of fuzzy pink flowers.