Eutrochium purpureum 'Little Red'

Common Name: Joe Pye weed 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 3.00 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to September
Bloom Description: Pink-purple
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Rain Garden
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer, Clay Soil, Wet Soil

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium moisture soils in full sun to part shade. Prefers moist, fertile, humusy soils which do not dry out. Cut plants to the ground in late winter. Best propagated by stem cuttings. This species generally grows better in open woodland areas than E. maculatum which generally likes moister soils.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Eutrochium purpureum, commonly called Joe Pye weed, is a tall Missouri native perennial that occurs in low moist ground, wooded slopes, wet meadows and thickets and stream margins throughout the State (Steyermark). It is an erect, clump-forming perennial which typically grows 4-7’ tall and features coarsely-serrated, lance-shaped, dark green leaves (to 12” long) in whorls of 3-4 on sturdy green stems with purplish leaf nodes. Tiny, vanilla-scented, dull pinkish-purple flowers in large, terminal, domed, compound inflorescences bloom in mid-summer to early fall. Each flower cluster typically has 5-7 florets. Flowers are very attractive to butterflies. Flowers give way to attractive seed heads which persist well into winter.

Genus name is derived from the Greek words eu meaning well and troche meaning wheel-like in reference to the whorled leaves.

Specific epithet means purple.

‘Little Red’ is a compact to dwarf Joe Pye weed variety. It typically grows to only 3-4’ tall, which makes it much more suitable for small borders. Tiny, pink-purple flowers in large, terminal, domed, compound inflorescences (to 4-6” across) bloom in mid-summer to early fall. Flowers are attractive to butterflies. Seed heads may persist into winter. Serrated, lance-shaped, dark green leaves (to 10” long) appear in whorls of 3-4 on sturdy green stems with purplish leaf nodes. Species plants are sometimes commonly called purple boneset in reference to the leaf node color.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Leaves may scorch if soils are allowed to dry out. Powdery mildew and rust may occur.

Garden Uses

Many people perceive Joe Pye weed to be nothing more than a roadside weed and have never seriously considered its outstanding ornamental attributes. It is a substantial plant which needs space, but when planted in groups or massed can provide spectacular flowering and architectural height. Border rears, cottage gardens, meadows, native plant gardens, wild/naturalized areas or water margins.