Fun Facts About Joe Pye Weed

Joe Pye Weed is sometimes referred to as trumpetweed because its flowers resemble little trumpets.

It really gets its name from a naturalist named Joe Pye. In the 19th century, Joe was living in New England when he discovered a unique ability of this plant. He used the plant's roots to develop a cure for Typhus Fever (Typhoid).

Typhus fever was a worldwide epidimic at the time that killed hundreds of thousands of people. In the United States, a typhus epidemic broke out in Philadelphia in 1837. In 1843, the fever took the life of the son of Franklin Pierce (14th President of the United States) in Concord, New Hampshire. Several epidemics occurred in Baltimore, Memphis, and Washington, DC, between 1865 and 1873. Typhus was also a significant killer during the US Civil War (1861-1865). This typhoid fever was the most prevalent cause of US Civil War "camp fever".

Finding a cure for this epidemic rendered Joe Pye a 19th century hero. He was rewarded in many ways, one however is that this plant will forever be called the Joe Pye Weed.


Planting Requirements For Joe Pye Weed

Light: This plant prefers full sun to partial shade.

Soil: Joe Pye Weed likes to be kept somewhat moist in average to rich soil It can tolerate wet soil conditions but not overly dry sites.

Spacing: This plant makes a great background plant but also needs plenty of room to grow. In fact, they are best planted on 24 inches (61 cm.) centers as they will eventually form large clumps.

Planting Time: Joe Pye Weed's seeds need to go through a process called stratification. This process involves getting extremely cold before they'll actually sprout. That's why you'll need to plant them in the fall so the colder weather and winter rains can help them germinate.

Zones: Depending on which species you get it could be hardy from 3 to 9.

Time of Bloom: Joe Pye Weed blooms approximately 1 month-long in mid-Summer to Fall.