Joe Pye weed is a striking perennial that grows wild in pastures and fields, roadsides and woodlands of the eastern United States. It has long thin stems covered with lance-like leaves that can grow up to 10-feet-tall. Each stem is topped with large clusters of many tiny florets, up to 18 inches in diameter, ranging from white to pink to purple, depending on the variety. These make it a favorite of bees and butterflies. Propagating Joe Pye weed is relatively easy from seeds, cuttings or division.
Collect Joe Pye weed seeds in the fall by placing a mature seed head into a paper bag and shaking loose the seeds. Look for viable seeds that are plump and swollen. Non-viable seeds will be small and shriveled.
Prepare the area you would like to grow your Joe Pye weed in the spring or summer by lightly raking the soil first.
Sow the seeds by scattering them loosely on the surface of the prepared area. Give them an initial watering and ensure that the soil is kept moist but not wet to encourage germination. Sprouts do not require thinning.
Fertilize your Joe Pye weed plants with a good all-purpose fertilizer, once they have sprouted in the spring, and water regularly to keep the soil moist but not wet.
Select softwood stems from the tips of healthy Joe Pye weed with smaller leaves and buds in spring or early summer. Take cuttings from these stems approximately 4 to 6 inches long.
Remove the leaves from the bottom third of the cutting with a sharp knife and dust the cut end with rooting compound.
Insert the cuttings into a moist rooting medium such as perlite, sand or potting soil in small pots.
Water the cuttings so that the soil is damp but not wet and place them in a warm, sunny area, indoors or outdoors in spring or summer. Water regularly, but do not over water. Tent each cutting with a plastic bag.
The Joe Pye weed cuttings will begin to root at around six weeks. Cuttings can then be transplanted to larger pots or outdoors in fertile, well-drained soil in your garden.
Propagate Plants by Division
Divide Joe Pye weed as it goes dormant in the fall or in the spring, when it first begins to sprout.
Look for areas at the base of the stems of a Joe Pye weed to identify places where they can be separated at the roots.
Dig up a section of Joe Pye weed using a shovel to cut through the crown of the plant. Ensure that section has at least one good stem bud with sufficient roots attached. Continue this process until all the divisions you need are complete.
Transplant each new Joe Pye weed into freshly turned soil, or into containers filled with potting soil and water thoroughly. Water regularly until the plant is well established.
About this Author
In Jacksonville, Fla., Frank Whittemore is a content strategist with over a decade of experience as a hospital corpsman in the U.S. Navy and a licensed paramedic. He has over 15 years experience writing for several Fortune 500 companies. Whittemore writes on topics in medicine, nature, science, technology, the arts, cuisine, travel and sports.