Virtues: ‘Little Joe’ Joe Pye weed is a neat, upright perennial that blooms from midsummer to autumn, attracting monarch butterflies and other pollinators to the garden. At just four feet tall, it is much smaller than many other Joe Pye weeds, and it is also more tolerant of shade.
Common name: ‘Little Joe’ Joe Pye weed
Botanical name:Eutrochium dubium ‘Little Joe’ (previously Eupatorium)
Exposure: Full sun to part shade
Season: Midsummer to autumn
Flowers: Domed clusters of tiny, rosy-pink flowers appear from midsummer into autumn atop the stems.
Foliage: ‘Little Joe’ Joe Pye weed has large, broad, crinkly green leaves that stand perpendicular to its dark purple stems.
Habit: ‘Little Joe’ grows to just 3 to 4 feet tall, making it about half the size of most Joe Pye weeds. Its stems maintain a stiffly upright stance, giving it a width of about 3 feet and a columnar shape.
Origins: Steve Lighty found this compact cultivar growing amid straight species Eutrochium dubium at Conard-Pyle’s Pennsylvania nursery and it was patented in 2005. The species E. dubium is native to the East Coast, from Maine to South Carolina, where it grows in marches, open woodlands and moist meadows.
How to grow ‘Little Joe’ Joe Pye weed: Site it in full sun to part shade in any garden soil with good drainage. Eutrochium dubium tolerates shade better than other Eutrochium species, but its bloom and habit will still be best in full sun. This is not a drought-tolerant plant; provide supplemental water during drought. Cut the stems down to the ground in late fall or early spring. USDA Zones 3–8.
Image credit: Perennial Resource