joe pye weed uses

6 Excellent Reasons Why You Need Joe Pye Weed In Your Garden

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joe pye weed

A few years back, I started focusing my gardening efforts on native plants of New England and specifically Northeastern Connecticut where I live.  One of the native plants I have added to both my native medicine garden and my native pollinator garden is Joe Pye Weed. I just love this plant!

As you have probably guessed, it is used both as a pollinator plant and has some medicinal properties that my Nipmuck ancestors likely used. The focus of this article today is to discuss what Joe Pye Weed is and to highlight the top 6 reasons that you’ll want to plant in your yard or garden.

joe pye weed uses
joe pye weed

What is Joe Pye Weed?

Joe Pye Weed might have an uninspiring name, but it’s a hardy plant that can grow well in many North American gardens. Legend has it that this wildflower got its moniker from a traveling Native American medicine man who sold colonists herbal tonics for fighting typhoid fever.

Joe Pye Weed is the common name for plants in the genus Eutrochium. These perennials grow to be about seven feet tall and have distinctive clusters of pink flowers at the tops of long stems. It is a NATIVE plant in the United States and Canada, so it is perfect to plant in your yard!

I love that the bloom time for Joe Pye Weed is generally around August when many of my other garden perennials have finished blooming. I have mine planted at the edge of our woodland in partial shade and it seems very happy there, where it spreads a bit more each year.  Some gardeners dislike that it spreads so much, but I love it. It also does well in moist areas.

joe pye weed

The 5 species of wild Eutrochium found in North America:

  • Eutrochium dubium: Also known as Coastal Plain Joe Pye Weed, it’s located in the eastern USA and Canada, and its range extends from Nova Scotia to Georgia.
  • Eutrochium fistulosum: This species is known by many names, including Hollow Joe Pye Weed, Trumpetweed, and Purple Thoroughwort. It grows from southern Canada to the eastern and southern USA, from Maine west to Ontario, Wisconsin, and Missouri and south as far as Texas and Florida.
  • Eutrochium maculatum: Commonly called spotted Joe Pye weed, this plant grows in much of the United States and Canada. It’s the only wild Joe Pye species found west of the Great Plains.
  • Eutrochium purpureum: This species is commonly known as Purple Joe-Pye Weed, Kidney-root, Sweetscented Joe Pye Weed, and Sweet Joe Pye Weed. It is native to eastern and central North America.
  • Eutrochium steelei: This Joe Pye Weed species is commonly known as Steele’s eupatorium and is found only in the Appalachian Mountains in Kentucky, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina. 

When you shop for Joe Pye Weed at your local garden center, you’ll probably find a variety of options. Most of these cultivars were developed from wild species.

joe pye weed

Top 6 Reasons to Grow Joe Pye Weed

1. Ornamental Interest

  • Late Summer Bloom — When other flowers have finished their flowering, this beautiful wildflower is just beginning. The flowers add lots of colorful garden interest and will continue to bloom from August until the first frost. 

2. Attracts Wildlife

  • Attracts Butterflies — is an important food source for wildlife. It attracts bees and butterflies with its nectar-rich blooms. The butterfly species you can expect to see include skippers, fritillaries, and swallowtails.
  • Attracts Birds — This plant attracts birds to your backyard. In the summer, you may see hummingbirds sipping nectar from the flowers. Come fall, many birds—like the American Goldfinch—feed on the seeds. Also, adding tall plants like Joe Pye Weed can provide shelter, cover, and protection—all of which may encourage more songbirds to visit your garden.
  • Attracts Bees — As a pollen and nectar producer, this wildflower is loved by many types of bees, making them a must for any wildlife and pollinator garden.
  • Host Plant — it is a host plant for the caterpillars of several moth species.

3. Tolerance

  • Deer and Rabbit Resistant — Joe Pye Weed is generally deer-and rabbit-resistant because of its bitter taste. However, younger leaves and stems may be eaten by these animals.
  • Soil and Drought Tolerant — This wildflower will grow in many soil conditions. It is tolerant of clay soil and wet soil, and mature plants even have some tolerance for short periods of drought. It is notable as a plant that tolerates nearly all soil pH levels.

4. Easy Care

  • Low Maintenance — Native plants are your best bet for a healthy garden. They’ve evolved to grow well in your area, so you don’t have to worry about them dying from too much or too little water, or from poor soil. You’ll also save money on weeding, watering, and fertilizing.

5. Versatile Uses

  • Meadow Garden – Joe Pye Weed can grow in areas that don’t dry out, such as meadows or open areas; it pairs well with other taller species. All plants will receive the necessary sun as it tracks overhead. 
  • Rain Garden – Joe Pye Weed is attractive and tough. It does well in rain gardens, which are areas designed to handle some of the water that runs off your roof and property. All you need is a small depression in your yard where water collects.
  • Massing – Joe Pye Weed looks striking when it’s planted in groups, creating a notable display and architectural height in the back of a border garden or along water margins. It’s also good to fill drainage ditches and other low-lying areas.
  • Naturalized – Joe-Pye weeds can be used formally or informally in perennial borders, wildflower gardens, or naturalized landscapes. 
  • Specimen –The Joe Pye Weed grows to be about 4-7 feet tall, making it a great specimen plant–it can easily become the focal point of any garden

6. Medicinal Value

Joe Pye weed, a plant with a fascinating name, has an important place in the world of traditional herbal remedies. Growing abundantly in my native botanical sanctuary, this plant has been valued for generations for its many uses in folk medicine.

Historically, Joe Pye weed has been appreciated for its diuretic properties, supporting kidney health and urinary tract wellness. It helps the body to eliminate excess fluid, which can be particularly useful for those dealing with water retention or kidney stones. I’ve often shared this herb with friends and readers looking for natural ways to support their urinary system.

The benefits of Joe Pye weed extend beyond that. It is also known for its ability to ease joint stiffness and the discomfort associated with gout. As someone who spends a lot of time tending to my garden and sanctuary, I know how important joint health is. This herb’s soothing qualities can make it easier to enjoy gardening and nature walks without the discomfort of joint issues.

Additionally, Joe Pye weed has been traditionally used to address reproductive health concerns. It’s fascinating to see how our ancestors relied on this plant for such intimate health matters, demonstrating the wisdom found in nature. From menstrual irregularities to other reproductive challenges, this herb has been a gentle yet effective aid.

In recent times, there’s increasing interest in Joe Pye weed’s potential in managing blood sugar levels. This is particularly meaningful to me, as I believe in the power of natural remedies to complement modern health practices. While it’s important to seek professional medical advice for health issues, incorporating Joe Pye weed into a holistic approach can be beneficial.


  1. A Grower’s Guide. Accessed 21 Nov. 2023.
  2. “Joe-Pye Weed.” Medicinal Herb Info, 30 Aug. 2021, Accessed 21 Nov. 2023.
  3. “Herbal Medicine.” American Botanical Council, Accessed 21 Nov. 2023.
joe pye weed

Concluding Thoughts

The bottom line is that Joe Pye Weed is a beautiful, useful plant for the garden. It’s a plant that provides many visual benefits to any garden, is easy to grow, requires little maintenance, and will tolerate some neglect, so you won’t have to devote too much time to it. It attracts pollinators, helps prevent erosion of soil, and provides numerous other benefits—so if you want to put the extra effort into growing a native plant, give Joe Pye Weed a serious look.

Interested in other articles about gardening for wildlife or pollinators? Check these out:


The Outdoor Apothecary website is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice. The information provided is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. While we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, it is the reader’s responsibility to ensure proper plant identification and usage.

Please be aware that some plants are poisonous or can have serious adverse health effects. We are not health professionals, medical doctors, or nutritionists. It is essential to consult with qualified professionals for verification of nutritional information, health benefits, and any potential risks associated with edible and medicinal plants mentioned on this website.

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