Eutrochium dubium 'Little Joe'

Common Name: Joe Pye weed 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Zone: 3 to 9
Height: 3.00 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to September
Bloom Description: Mauve purple
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Rain Garden
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer, Clay Soil, Wet Soil


Easily grown in abundantly moist, fertile, humusy soils in full sun to part shade. Also performs well in moist sandy to gravely soils. Soils must not be allowed to dry out. Generally intolerant of shady locations. Plants may be cut to the ground in late winter. Species plants will spread in the landscape by self-seeding.

‘Little Joe’ is a patented plant that will not come true from seed.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Eutrochium dubium, commonly known as coastal plain Joe Pye weed, is a coarse, herbaceous perennial that typically grows to 3-5’ tall and to 2-4’ wide on purple-spotted stems clad with ovate, coarsely-toothed, strongly three-veined leaves (to 6” long) arranged in whorls of 3-4. This is a wetland species which is native primarily to sandy swamps, riverbanks and moist thickets in Eastern North America from Nova Scotia and Maine south along the coastal plain to South Carolina and Alabama. Small disk flowers (rays absent) ranging in color from pale pink to dark purple bloom in corymbiform, dome-shaped clusters (4-7” across) from July to September.

This plant has been moved from the genus Eupatorium to the genus Eutrochium. Eupatorium dubium is a synonym.

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

Specific epithet from Latin means doubtful.

Joe Pye was reportedly an Indian herbalist and healer from the New England area.

‘Little Joe’ is a more compact cultivar than the species, typically growing in a clump to 3-4’ tall and to 1-3’ wide. It was discovered growing among a population of seedlings of this species at a Conard-Pyle Nursery in Pennsylvania. Exact parentage of this cultivar is unknown. U.S. Plant Patent PP16,122 was issued on November 15, 2005. Patent documents reveal that this cultivar is primarily distinguished from the straight species by: (1) stiffer, more upright, and more compact growth habit, (2) more compact inflorescences typically colored light lavender, and (c) greater drought tolerance.


No serious insect or disease problems. Good resistance to powdery mildew. Leaves may scorch if soils are allowed to dry out.


Moist areas in borders, cottage gardens, meadows, native plant gardens, wild/naturalized areas, rain gardens or water margins.