JOE PYE, BONESET Eupatorium maculatum
Joe-Pye is a gorgeous perennial plant, even if you didn't love it for it's ability to feed butterflies. Plants grow to 4-5' tall, and form tidy clumps that become covered in pink flowers over many weeks. The plants become so large, they are like a small shrub. As Milkweed is used to feed monarch caterpillars (the caterpillars eat Milkweed leaves, as it is the only plants they can eat), the nectar of Joe Pye can feed ALL butterflies, including the monarch butterfly, swallowtails, and many more! Plant in sun or part sun. Plants are very hardy, as cold as zone 3.
Height: 4'-5', depending on location
Location: Sun or part
Hardiness zones: 3-9
Note: Although the Joe-Pye nectar is an excellent food-source for butterflies, the plants are seeds are poisonous to people and animals. Keep in a safe place.
Seeds per pack: 20
Germination: As with many perennial seeds, these seeds can benefit from a period of moist cold to help them break dormancy. This is done by giving them a cold 'winter' period (artificial or natural), and then a warming to simulate 'spring', and time to grow! Here's how this can be done:
Obtain a planting container that has holes in the bottom for excess water to drain. Place the seeds just under the surface of your growing medium, and water. Place your container in a cold area (but not freezing, perhaps a refrigerator) for 4-6 weeks. Once the cold period is completed, place the container at room temperature for them to germinate. Be sure to keep the soil moist during this entire germination period. Seedlings will sprout a few weeks, or occasionally several months, after the warming period.
If you are planting your seeds in late winter or spring, these seeds can be planted outdoors while it is still cool out (once the ground is workable and unfrozen), to receive the cold period naturally in the garden. It is best to use this method only if you are able to keep the soil moist for the entire germination period. Be sure to label the planting area.