Vermont Garden Journal: The Story Of Joe Pye Weed

Sep 1, 2017

I love plants with interesting stories. One example is Eutrochium Purpureum. Don't know it? Well, back in colonial times there was a Native American medicine man who made tea from a certain wild plant to help cure typhoid fever. He saved the colonists and his name then became synonymous with the plant; Joe Pye weed.

Joe Pye weed is now blooming in wetlands, gardens and woodland edges. It's a favorite of bees and butterflies with purple flowers that have a slight vanilla scent. The wild species grows six to seven feet tall and have different colors such as white and pink.

It should be planted in a compost-amended bed and kept well watered to prevent wilting. Joe Pye weed can grow tall and become a beast in the garden. Plant in back of borders or grouped with shrubs. It makes an excellent pollinator or butterfly garden plant and a nice addition around a pond or stream's edge.

Now for this week's tip: if you're growing sweet peppers and want them to turn red, be patient. It takes two weeks after the fruit reaches the mature green stage before it turns red. Of course, red sweet peppers are tastier and more nutritious. Next year, try the "Carmen" Italian pepper. It's quick to turn red in late summer.