Purple Joe-Pye weed – info, planting, care and tips

Purple Joe-Pye weed (Eupatorium purpureum)
Purple Joe-Pye weed (Eupatorium purpureum) - by Plenuska

The purple Joe-Pye weed is rich in flowers, easy to care for and blooms until autumn. With its large, purple-red flowers it is one of the most beautiful wild shrubs.

Profile of purple Joe-Pye weed:

Scientific name: Eupatorium purpureum

Plant family: daisy family (Asteraceae)

Other names: kidney-root, sweetscented joe pye weed, sweet Joe-Pye weed, gravel root, trumpet weed, feverweed

Sowing time: spring

Planting time: spring

Flowering period: July to September

Location: sunny to partially shady

Soil quality: stony, loamy to clayey, nutrient rich, humus rich

These information are for temperate climate!

Use in: flower beds, flower bouquets, group planting, planters, visual protection, pond planting, borders, flower garden, natural garden, water garden

Winter hardiness: hardy, USDA Plant Hardiness Zones: 5 (-26 °C / -15 °F)

Bee and insect friendly: Yes

Plant characteristics and classification of purple Joe-Pye weed

Plant order, origin and occurrence of purple Joe-Pye weed

The Red Water-East belongs to the daisy family (Asteraceae) and is an extremely decorative, large wild shrub, which is also used as a medicinal plant. This species of hemp agrimony originally comes from North America, where it is mainly found in the eastern half and thrives on slightly moist soils in thickets and forests as well as near water. Eupatorium purpureum also feels most comfortable in fresh and humid locations and is suitable as a pretty decoration for the edge of a wood or pond banks. In any case, the perennial with its bushy, high growth and its magnificent, purple-pink flowers gives its place a natural charm. As with the hemp agrimony, insects also like it: Butterflies in particular, but also bees and bumblebees like to romp about on the colorful, delicately scented flowers and bring lively life in the garden.

Characteristics of purple Joe-Pye weed


Purple Joe-Pye weed is a clump-forming perennial that can reach a height of about 120 to 200 centimeters (48 to 80 in). It grows lush, upright and grows between 60 centimeters (24 in) and one meter wide. The strong stems of the purple Joe-Pye weed have a blue-green to brown-violet color.


The green leaves of the purple Joe-Pye weed grow up to 30 centimeters long, are lanceolate in shape and are serrated at the edges. They have quite short stems and sit in groups of three or four, arranged in a whorl on the plant stems. The perennial is deciduous, so it loses its leaves in autumn.


The purple Joe-Pye weed blooms from July to September in beautiful pink to crimson and exudes a delicate vanilla-like fragrance. Its small flowers heads consist of only a few tubular individual flowers. These heads sit in broad corymbs and thus form large, flowering hemispheres.


In autumn, slender seeds appear on the wilted flower heads of the purple Joe-Pye weed. These are equipped with a pappus, i.e. fine hairs, which makes them spread easily with the wind.

Purple Joe-Pye weed – cultivation and care


The purple Joe-Pye weed thrives best in sunny to partially shady places. In addition to wood and pond edges, open spaces are also suitable for planting the perennial. A good water supply is important in sunny locations.


Purple Joe-Pye weed needs a fresh to moist, nutrient-rich, deep and humusy soil to grow well. A stony to loamy-clayey substrate is particularly suitable for the wild shrub. The pH value should be in the weakly alkaline to weakly acidic range.


It is best to plant the purple Joe-Pye weed in the garden in spring – either individually or in small groups of two or three plants. Due to the width of the plants, a distance of about 80 to 100 centimeters (32 to 40 in) should be kept between them. Since they also grow quite large, it is a good idea to place the wild shrubs in the background of the bed. Eupatorium purpureum even thrives very well as a potted plant, but then it does not grow quite as large and does not flower as much.


The purple Joe-Pye weed is actually considered to be a very easy to care for perennial. Make sure that the location is always fresh to moist and the soil never dries out completely. However, water moderately and preferably so that the water penetrates well into the depths. Especially in sunny locations and in hot summer months it is important to ensure an optimal, even water supply. If you do not want the plant to spread by self-sowing, remove the flowers in autumn and cut back the plant to ground level. However, the wilted flower umbels are also a charming decoration in the winter garden – especially when they are covered with the tiny crystals of hoarfrost or with fine snow. In this case, do not cut back the plant close to the ground until spring.


If Eupatorium purpureum grows in less nutritious places, it is a good idea to rejuvenate the perennial by dividing it every few years. This ensures a strong growth and a rich flowering. In early spring, before budding, the root ball of the plant is generously dug out. Dry and diseased roots are removed and the root ball is divided into at least fist-sized pieces with a sharp spade. The beauty of this is that the splitting also serves to propagate the perennial.


In order to propagate purple Joe-Pye weed, it can be divided in early spring. New plants can also be easily grown by cutting. The perennial also propagates by self-sowing, as long as the wilted flowers containing the seeds are not pruned.

Diseases and pests

If purple Joe-Pye weed is too dry, powdery mildew can become a problem. The fungal disease makes itself noticeable by a mealy, whitish, area-covering coating and usually attacks first the leaf tops, then also the leaf undersides as well as the remaining overground plant parts. If you detect an infestation with powdery mildew, you must act: Remove the affected parts of the plant as quickly as possible and dispose of them with the household waste.


The purple Joe-Pye weed is hardy down to -26 °C / -15 °F and survives frosty periods very well without special protective measures.

Use in the garden

In a natural environment, the purple Joe-Pye weed is particularly effective. With its large, purple-pink flowers, it sets colorful accents from summer to autumn along garden ponds, in open spaces and on the edges of a wood. Due to its rather high growth it is even suitable as a privacy screen. Eupatorium purpureum can be combined particularly well with other long-flowering perennials such as the Virginia spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana) with purple flowers or the dark pink blooming purple loosestrife. A special play of colors is created by the yellow flowers of the heart-leaf oxeye (Telekia speciosa) or the tall tickseed (Coreopsis tripteris). If the location is suitable, the purple Joe-Pye weed can also take the leading role in borders and shine for example next to autumn ox-eye (Leucanthemella serotina) and daylilies. The wild shrub also cuts a fine figure in combination with tall grasses. The pretty flowers of Eupatorium purpureum can also be arranged wonderfully in bouquets.


The varieties Eupatorium purpureum ‘Gateway’ and ‘Purple Bush’ offer a more intense flower color.

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