11 How to Grow, Care for Sweet Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium purpureum) 2022

11 How to Grow, Care for Sweet Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium purpureum) 2022

If you love butterflies and want to attract more to your garden, consider planting a butterfly garden. Do you think butterfly plants will not survive in your coldest zone in zone 5? Think again. Many hardy plants attract butterflies. Read on for information on butterfly gardening in zone 5 and which plants will attract butterflies.

Eutrochium purpureum, commonly known as purple Joe-Pye weed or sweetscented joe pye weed, is an herbaceous perennial plant in the sunflower family. It is native to eastern and central North America, from Ontario east to New Hampshire and south as far as Florida, Louisiana, and Oklahoma.

  • Scientific name: Eutrochium purpureum
  • Family: Asteraceae
  • Kingdom: Plantae

Is Joe-pye weed really a weed?

Sweet Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium purpureum) is the most widely distributed, covering most of the Eastern United States, from the Missouri River Valley Eastward. And reaching 6′ tall.

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Joe Pye Weed Reference Table.

Scientific NameEutrochium pupurea, Eutrochium maculatum, Eutrochium fistulosum
Height3′-9′ tall (1m -3m)

Is there White Joe-pye weed?

Bartered Bride‘, whose dirty white flowers look battered instead of bartered, E. ‘Joe White’ makes a spectacular specimen. The 6-7′ tall stems are topped with large, attractive flower heads of white in mid-July. I think you will enjoy this welcome addition to that moist spot in your garden.

Can you eat Joe-pye weed?

Joe Pye weed is an amazing wild edible plant that is an herb, a wildflower, a butterfly plant and looks great in cultivated flower beds.

What does Joe-pye weed attract?

Commonly found in open meadows and marshes in eastern North America, the Joe-pye weed plant attracts butterflies with its large flower heads. While many people enjoy growing this attractive looking weed plant, some gardeners would prefer to remove Joe-pye weed.

About Butterfly Gardening in Zone 5

Before you start selecting plants for butterflies, give some thought to your needs. Butterflies are cold-blooded and need the sun to warm their bodies. To fly well, butterflies need body temperatures between 85 and 100 degrees. Therefore, select a site for zone 5 butterfly garden plants in the sun, near a protective wall, fence, or cluster of evergreens that will protect insects from the winds.

You can also incorporate dark-colored rocks or boulders into your zone 5 butterfly garden. These will warm up in the sun and give the butterflies a place to rest. When insects stay warm, they fly more, eat more, and seek mates more often. Therefore, they lay more eggs, and you get more butterflies.

Commit not to use pesticides. Butterflies are highly susceptible to pesticides. Bacillus thuringiensis kills both moths and butterfly larvae, so it should be avoided, although it is a biological pesticide.

Hardy plants that attract butterflies

Butterflies go through four life cycles: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. The adults feed on the nectar of many types of flowers, and the larvae feed mainly on the leaves of a more limited variety. You may want to plant plants that attract adult insects and support larvae or caterpillars.

Many butterfly plants also attract hummingbirds, bees, and moths. Consider mixing native and non-native plants in the butterfly garden. It will expand the number and type of butterflies they visit. 

Also, plant large groups of flowers together, attracting more butterflies than just one plant here and there. Choose plants that bloom on a rotating basis throughout the season, so the butterflies have a continuous source of nectar.

Some plants (such as the butterfly bush, echinacea, black-eyed Susan, lantana, verbena) are virtual butterfly magnets. Still, many others are equally attractive to one or more species—mix annuals with perennials.

11 How to Grow Care for Sweet Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium purpureum) 2022

Perennials for butterflies include:

  • Allium
  • Chives
  • Do not forget me
  • Bee balm
  • Catmint
  • Coreopsis
  • Lavender
  • Liatris
  • Lily
  • mint
  • Phlox
  • Red valerian
  • Sunflower
  • Veronica
  • Yarrow
  • Goldenrod
  • Herb Joe-Pye
  • Obedient plant
  • Sedum
  • Sneezewood
  • Pentas

Annuals that can be included among the above perennials include:

  • Ageratum
  • Cosmos
  • Heliotrope
  • Wonderful
  • Mexican sunflower
  • Nicotiana
  • Petunia
  • Scabiosa
  • Statice
  • Zinnia

These are only partial lists. There are many more attractive plants for butterflies such as azalea, blue mist, buttonbush, hyssop, milkweed, sweet william, the list goes on.

Additional plants for butterflies

As you plan your butterfly garden, be sure to incorporate plants for your offspring. Black Swallowtail caterpillars appear to have a reasonably human palate and prefer to eat carrots, parsley, and dill. Wild cherry, birch, poplar, ash, apple, and tulip trees are favored by tiger swallowtail larvae.

Monarch hatchlings prefer milkweed and butterfly grass, and the Great Spangled fritillary larvae prefer violets. Buckeye butterfly larvae feed on snapdragons, while Cloak of Mourning nibbles on willows and elms.

Viceroy larvae have a yen for the fruit of plum and cherry trees, as well as for willows. Purple butterflies with red spots also prefer trees like willows and poplars, and Hackberry butterfly larvae feed on hackberry, of course.

How to design a garden to attract butterflies and hummingbirds

Danita Delimont / Getty Images

You don’t have to go out of your way to attract butterflies to your garden. If you plant enough flowers, they will find them. However, you can apply a few tricks to your garden design to make your garden border more inviting. Butterflies are attracted to bright colors, and butterflies and hummingbirds like plants high in nectar, like the ones in this garden design.

Another consideration is to provide plants for all stages of the butterfly’s short life. For example, we add a water source like a birdbath and rocks for sunbathing.

The design illustrated here is a curved edge, 30 feet long by 10 feet wide. Most of the selected flowers are suitable for various hardiness zones, but alternatives are also listed. Keep in mind that local nurseries often have uniquely suited varieties to your area.

Different butterflies prefer different plants, but you can be sure to attract your share of butterflies with the plants in this garden design. The edge is intended for full sun, which will also help attract butterflies, as their wings must be warm for them to fly.

Most plants are suitable for various hardiness zones, but alternatives are listed. Details on each plant are found below on subsequent pages.

11 How to Grow Care for Sweet Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium purpureum) 2022
11 How to Grow Care for Sweet Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium purpureum) 2022

Butterfly Gardening in Zone 5: Hardy Plants That Attract Butterflies

  1. Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly grass)
  2. Panicum virgatum (rod grass) ‘Shenandoah.’
  3. Scabiosa columbaria (pincushion flower) ‘Pink Mist’
  4. Coreopsis verticillata (tick seed) ‘Zagreb’
  5. Heliopsis helianthoides (false sunflower) ‘Karat.’
  6. Veronicaspectraa (spike speedwell) ‘Sunny Border Blue.’
  7. Echinacea purpurea (purple coneflower)
  8. Asiatic lilies
  9. Agastache x ‘Ava’ (hummingbird mint)
  10. Eupatorium maculatum (Joe-Pye’s herb) ‘Gateway.’
  11. Glandularia Canadensis (pink verbena) ‘Homestead Purple


The bushes provide a stable source of nectar for butterflies. Two suitable sites for full sun sites in zone 9 are globemallow (Sphaeralcea Ambigua) and California El Dorado lilac (Ceanothus thyrsiflorus “Parado”). Globemallow, hardy in USDA zones 6 through 10, grows 1 to 3 feet tall and wide. One butterfly that attracts is the West Coast Lady (Vanessa Annabella). This shrubby perennial has showy salmon-colored flowers from spring to fall. Suitable for USDA zones 7 through 11, the lilac El Dorado California Butterfly Magnet has blue spring flowers and grows 8 feet tall and wide. This evergreen shrub grows in full sun and partial shade.

An easy way to grow a butterfly garden

  • Contains 30 perennials
  • Fill a 5ft x 8ft area
  • Includes six lilies, 12 Liatris spectra, three columbines
  • Also, three lilies, three coneflowers, and three milkweed
  • It blooms from late spring to late summer.

Butterfly gardens don’t get much easier than this! This kit contains 30 perennials that will provide colorful flowers and attract butterflies for months. Designed to fill a 5ft x 8ft area, it includes 6 Mixed Asiatic Lilies, 12 Liatris spectra (white and purple), 3 Columbine Mix, 3 Dwarf Daylilies (red, pink, and yellow), 3 Coneflowers (purple, white, and yellow) ) and three milkweeds (orange and white). All perennials are easy to grow and maintain. Since perennials have different flowering times, you will have flowers from late spring to late summer. It works best when planted in full sun or partial shade. Zones 5-9.

We have received your request. You will be notified when this product is in stock.

Product details

Product details

  • Botanical Name: Butterfly Garden Kit
  • Height: 12 – 60 inches
  • Spacing: Varies
  • Depth: 4-6 “
  • Propagate: Varies
  • Light required: Full sun, partial shade
  • Color: Mixed
  • Size: Various
  • Blooms: Late spring, all spring, early summer, mid-summer, late summer, all summer
  • Zone: 5-9
  • Form: Perennial
  • Flower shape: Mixed
  • Soil Requirements: Well-drained soil.
  • Growth rate: Medium
  • Pruning: Does not need pruning.
  • Foliage: Mixed

Butterfly Gardening in Zone 5: Hardy Plants That Attract Butterflies

Most of the time, orders with items with different shipping schedules are held in their entirety until the entire order is ready to ship based on your grow zone.

Plants will be shipped at the appropriate planting time for your area of ​​the country using the shipping deadlines outlined below. We continually monitor weather conditions for extreme hot or cold temperatures and adjust shipping times as needed. Due to hot weather conditions, we cannot ship most plant items in July and August.

The type of product you order or the climate from our area to yours can affect the anticipated shipping schedule, changing sooner or later, depending on.

Trees and shrubs are kept in the nursery row until completely dormant for optimal protection against stress.

In all cases, we choose the fastest and most efficient way to ship your orders via the US Postal Service or FedEx. Large orders or items may be sent to you in multiple packages.

Sorry, we cannot ship products to Hawaii, Alaska, APO / FPO, or outside of the contiguous United States. Please provide a postal address, as some products cannot be delivered to PO boxes.

11 How to Grow Care for Sweet Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium purpureum) 2022
11 How to Grow Care for Sweet Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium purpureum) 2022

Nectar plants

Want to know what else you can do to make a difference in your garden? Download our list of butterfly nectar plants by blooming month order. Even if you plant just one or go all the way and plant the entire list, the butterflies and bees will thank you. There are plants here for all types of garden, from large to small, urban to wild.

Other herbs

For an explosion of color and fragrance in the garden, choose lavenders. The scent of purple, pink or white flowers attract butterflies. Lavenders, except for Spanish lavender, are hardy to USDA zone 5.

Anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) is another plant of choice for a butterfly garden. Anise hyssop looks like lavender but has a scent that resembles licorice. The plant grows in USDA zone 4 and above. It can become invasive.

Bee balm (Monarda didyma) attracts painted ladies, monarchs, fritillaries, and swallowtails. Bee balm produces red, pink, or white tubular flowers and is hardy to USDA zone 5. Like anise hyssop, it has an invasive growth habit.

Top 25 Butterfly Garden Plants

Float like a butterfly.

Gardeners have hundreds of host plant options for butterflies, and we want to help you select the best plants that attract butterflies. We have generated a list of the best flowers that attract butterflies, both nectar sources and butterfly host plants. At Plant Delights Nursery, we have decades of experience with butterfly gardens and butterfly host plants. Over the past 25 years, we have worked with literally thousands of butterfly flowers in our 20-acre park. Although we grow in the South, the following list of butterfly garden plants is for the entire US and includes butterfly flowers grown in the Northeast, Midwest, Southwest, and Pacific Northwest. Just click on the links below to learn more about each plant and where it can be grown. Each plant will be followed by its nutritional status (host = host plants for butterflies and caterpillars) (nectar = nectar sources for adult butterflies) plus a list of butterfly species attracted to it.

This article is the first in a series on butterfly plants. Go to the second article titled: How to Build a Butterfly Garden.

List of the 25 best butterfly garden plants

# 25 Stonecrop (Sedum)

Both tall and short sedums are loved by butterflies and make excellent plants for the xeric butterfly garden. See our Sedum article in our article archive for more information on Sedum.

# 24 Beebalm (Monarda)

A hit with Swallowtails and Silver-spotted Skipper: Many new Monarda hybrids are on the market now that are disease resistant, do not invade the garden and do not fall off.

# 23 Herbs

Ornamental grasses are widely used as host plants for butterflies. Remember not to spray them with insecticides when you see signs of feeding. Try Muhlenbergia, Schizachyrium, Panicum, or Carex.

# 22 Baptisia

A beautiful native flowering plant, but butterflies don’t want flowers Baptisias are host plants for butterflies. In particular, Baptisia is a host plant for the Wild Indigo Duskywing butterfly. Silver-spotted patterns and gray-edged butterflies are also fans. Plant Delights has a baptisia breeding program and is one of the leaders in the US for new baptisia releases.

See our in-depth Baptisia article for more information.

# 21 Stokesia

Stokesia is popular with gardeners for its large blue flowers and Great Spangled Fritillaries for its sweet nectar.

See our in-depth article on Stokesia in our article archives.

# 20 Pipe Vine (Aristolochia)

A popular vine with gardeners for its large (sometimes variegated) leaves and strange meerschaum pipe-shaped flowers, Pipe Vine is also popular with the peculiar, colorful Pipevine Swallowtail caterpillar as a host plant.

# 19 Angelica

Angelica belongs to the carrot family, and if you’ve ever seen butterflies flitting around their relatives: carrot, Queen Anne’s lace, dill, or fennel, then you will understand why they like this lacy flower beauty too.

11 How to Grow Care for Sweet Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium purpureum) 2022
11 How to Grow Care for Sweet Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium purpureum) 2022

# 18 yarrow

The large, colorful flower clusters make Achillea an excellent plant for butterfly gardens. The ruffled foliage is very fern-like and adds a nice texture to the border.

# 17 Phlox

There are many phlox colors to choose from for your butterfly garden. Just be sure to select the ones that are also mold resistant.

# 16 Sunflower (Helianthus)

You may be more familiar with annual sunflowers, but there are also perennial sunflowers that glow with color for an extended period in the fall. Oh, and butterflies think they taste great too.

# 15 Joe-Pye Weed

Eupatoria is planted with ruffled flower clusters that attract butterflies, giant butterflies like swallowtails, great options for wet soils.

# 14 Liatris (burning star)

Liatris shoots fireworks-like flower stalks around the 4th of July. Enjoy your Independence Day BBQ along with the swallowtails that will sip nectar from Liatris while you sip lemonade.

# 13 mint family

It is not a specific plant, but butterflies like many members of this family of plants (Agastache, Lavender, Rosemary, Calamintha, Pycnanthemum, etc.). I had to group them as higher plants for butterfly gardens. These plants also feature fragrant foliage and some of them, like Agastache, also have incredibly colorful flowers.

# 12 snapdragon

You may immediately think of annual snapdragons, but you must also try the giant perennial snapdragons, pretty flowers, silver foliage, and butterflies!

Vernonia altissima ‘Jonesboro Giant’

# 11 Iron (Vernonia)

A tall, purple-flowered perennial that blooms in fall to the back of the border. Very popular with butterflies.

# 10 Daisy (Leucanthemum)

This classic white-flowered summer garden plant has flowers that attract butterflies and serve as a host plant.

# 9 Goldenrod (Solidago)

From late summer to fall, goldenrod provides much-needed nectar for butterflies.

# 8 Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia)

Another long-flowering summer perennial, the black-eyed Susan, has invisible (to humans) patterns on the petals that only butterflies (with UV vision) can see

# 7 Verbena

In particular, the Brazilian verbena (Verbena bonariensis) is quite popular with many butterfly species. Other festivals work well too.

# 6 Lantana

Perennial lantanas bloom all summer in bright colors and bring in butterflies (and hummingbirds, too).

# 5 Sage

If you are not growing salvias yet, you should start. Salvias offer a wide color gamut, drought tolerance, an extremely long flowering period, are attractive to hummingbirds and a couple of butterflies. For more information on Salvia, see our detailed article in our article archive.

# 4 Aster

Asters are perennial plants that bloom in late summer and fall are excellent attractors of butterflies, not only as nectar but also as a host plant.

# 3 Echinacea (Echinacea)

This widely adaptable perennial can be planted almost anywhere in the US and attracts tons and tons of butterflies. See our in-depth article in our archive for more information on echinacea.

# 2 Butterfly flower / Butterfly grass (Asclepias)

With ‘butterfly’ in the common name, you better bet this is an excellent plant for butterfly gardens. Not only do the colorful flowers provide nectar, but the leaves and stems are host plants for butterflies that are popular with caterpillars because they are filled with a toxic white latex that makes the pillars taste harmful to predators. No butterfly garden should be without butterfly grass, especially if you want to help protect the endangered monarch butterfly. If native plants are your thing, then butterfly grass should be your number one butterfly plant.

11 How to Grow Care for Sweet Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium purpureum) 2022

# 1 butterfly bush (Buddleia)

The top-ranked, second to none, A # 1 plant for a butterfly garden is the butterfly bush that attracts a wide range of butterfly species. Each plant can support hundreds of butterflies feeding on it simultaneously. Bright colors and a long flowering time (if dead) make Buddleia the # 1 plant for a butterfly garden. Every fan of butterflies should grow Buddleia. See our in-depth article in our archive for more information on Buddleia.

Honorable mentions

Of course, many other plants attract butterflies that are not part of our Top 25 Butterfly Garden Plants. Our other favorites include Agapanthus, Allium, Amsonia, Chrysanthemum, Coreopsis, Dianthus, Erigeron, Hemerocallis, Lobelia, Mallow, and Penstemon.


The butterfly is a flying flower. The flower is a tied butterfly.

Ponce Denis Écouchard Lebrun

It is a pleasure to watch the kinetic flutter of butterflies as they float from flower to flower in a butterfly garden. There are hundreds of other excellent butterfly garden plants that you can check out on our butterfly flower page. For those near us in Raleigh, North Carolina (or traveling near Raleigh), you can visit our gardens during our open house events to see our butterfly gardens and butterfly host plants in action. We can also recommend two other local butterfly gardens, the JC Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh and the Butterfly House at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham.

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