How to Propagate Joe Pye Weed

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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, up to 10 feet tall, covered with lance-like leaves. 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.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper bag
  • Shovel
  • Knife
  • Rooting compound
  • Small plant pots
  • Medium-sized plastic bags

Planting Seeds

  • 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. Nonviable seeds will be small and shriveled.

  • Prepare the area where you would like to grow your Joe Pye weed by lightly raking the soil first.

  • Sow the seeds freely and thickly throughout the area. Give them an initial watering and ensure that the soil is kept moist to encourage germination.

  • Fertilize your Joe Pye weed plants, once they have sprouted in the spring, and water regularly to encourage growth.

Propagate Cuttings

  • Select softwood stems from the tips of healthy Joe Pye weeds with smaller leaves and buds. 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 well and place them in a warm, sunny area, watering regularly, but do not over water. Tent each cutting with a plastic bag.

  • The Joe Pye weed cuttings will begin to root within about six weeks.

Propagate by Division

  • Divide Joe Pye weed as it goes dormant in the fall or 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 the plant using a shovel to cut through the crown of the plant. Ensure that the 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.

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