Native plants are often mistaken for weeds. As the saying goes, "You don't appreciate what you don't pay for". Joe-Pye has been dressing up roadsides for years. We've been driving past it without a second thought for just as long. But the butterflies notice and if you turned your head as you drove past, you'd see them flitting about.
Joe-Pye Weed can be weedy. The species grows very tall and spreads eagerly. But it's been tamed and there are several excellent cultivars out there now. Perhaps the best and most widely grown is 'Gateway'. Gateway has been scaled down to garden size, but it still makes an impact. This late season bloomer will carry your butterfly garden well into fall.
The one catch with growing Eupatorium is that is prefers a moist environment. However, if you can keep it well watered the first season, it can handle a little less than ideal conditions in future years.
Eupatorium maculatum (Joe Pye Weed) 'Gateway' (USDA Zones 4 - 8, 6' x 6', Mauve Blooms: August - Sept)
- Buddleia davidii (Butterfly Bush) 'Potter's Purple' (USDA Zones 5 - 9, 4-6' x 3-4', Purple Blooms: Repeat Bloomer)
Salvia uliginosa - Bog Salvia (USDA Zones 6 - 10, 4-6' x 4', Light Blue Blooms: Repeat Bloomer)