Spotted Joe Pye Weed- ‘Gateway’ to Butterflies

Late Season Nectar Flower for Pollinators

Eutrochium maculatum common names: Spotted Joe pye weed, Spotted trumpetweed, Gateway Joe Pye Weed (for cultivar) Eutrochium purpureum var maculatum, former genus name is Eupatorium

Spotted Joe Pye Weed is a late season nectar source that attracts monarchs, swallowtails, and a bounty of other butterflies and 'smallinators' during the sweet days of summer. Learn how to grow 'Joe' in your garden.

Eutrochium maculatum ‘Gateway’ Plant Specs

  • Perennial: USDA hardiness zones 3-8 (lows -31 °C or -24 °F)
  • Native region for spotted joe pye weed
  • Full sun to part shade
  • Average water needs; do not over water
  • Height 2 to 10 feet
  • ‘Gateway’ cultivar height: 4 to 6 feet (ours eclipsed 8 ft in Minnesota)
  • Spacing: 4 to 6 ft
  • Flowers: shades of pink flower clusters on upright, dark red stems
  • Foliage: dark green leaves
  • Blooms mid to late summer
Spotted Joe Pye Weed is a late season nectar source that attracts monarchs, swallowtails, and a bounty of other butterflies and 'smallinators', like this skipper, during the sweet days of summer. Learn how to grow 'Joe' in your garden...

Joe Pye Gateway Pros

  • Covered with small pollinators and butterflies every summer July, August, September
  • Gateway cultivar has a more compact growth habit, shorter in stature
  • Towering plant allows easy viewing of butterflies
  • Early Monarch migration plant for northern regions
  • easy care plant in consistently wet soils
  • No serious pest issues; deer and rabbit resistant
Red Admirals are frequent visitors to our northern butterfly garden. They like many of the same nectar flowers as monarchs, including Joe Pye Weed. See if this amazing late bloomer will grow in your region...

Joe Pye Gateway Cons

  • Past its prime during the monarch migration
  • Small pollinators sometimes take over blooms from the butterflies- but little ‘flies’ gotta eat too!
  • Prolific seeder in wet conditions
  • Some have reported issues with powdery mildew

Joe Pye Plant Propagation

  • Sow seeds directly in fall
  • Start seeds indoors before final frost
  • Sow seeds directly after final frost
  • Divide rootball in autumn or spring
  • Winter sowing
Joe Pye Weed starts easily from seed and can also be easily transplanted. Plant in full sun for best butterfly results.
Starting from the Ground Up

Spotted Joe Pye Gateway Growing Tips

A full grown Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium maculatum) towers over the butterfly garden.
Our ‘Gateway’ Towered to 8 Feet
  • Plant in area with moist soil or leaves tend to wilt or scorch
  • Plant in partial shade for longer bloom period
  • Grow in back of the border for privacy and to avoid shading out shorter plants
  • Eutrochium can be planted/divided in spring or fall
  • Even though it’s large, transplants pretty easily
  • Attract more pollinators by growing in full sun
  • Cut- once the flowers turn brown, cut them off and discard to avoid heavy seeding
Joe Pye Weed attracts an Incredible Assortment of Beneficial Pollinators to the Garden...a top Native Nectar Source for Bees and Butterflies.
A Bee’s Delight

Pollinator Plus

Red Spotted Purples (Limenitis arthemis) are one of many butterfly visitors that frequently stop by Joe Pye Weed for a sweet nectar meal.
A Red Spotted Purple On Pink

Besides monarchs, spotted joe pye weed is popular with bumble bees, hummingbirds, red admirals, red spotted purples, skippers, tiger swallowtails, variegated fritillaries, and many other small pollinators!

Please comment below if you know of other pollinator that frequently visit Spotted Joe Pye!

Buy Eutrochium maculatum ‘Gateway’ Plants and Seeds

Always purchase seeds and plants by botanical (scientific) name. Eutrochium Maculatum Gateway’s common name, joe pye weed, is used to refer to many different eutrochium species

  1. Find Joe Pye Weed Plants and Seeds on Joyful Butterfly
  2. Eutrochium Maculatum Seeds and Plants on Etsy

Find More Pink Butterfly Flower Favorites on our Butterfly Flowers Page

Please post below if you have any questions or comments about growing
Eutrochium maculatum in your butterfly garden:
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21 Comments

  1. I live in Florida, zone 9. Will the Joe pye weed not grow well here? I have a pretty extensive butterfly host plant garden along with plenty of nectar plants. The Joe Oye Weed looks very pretty and somerh8thay I would like to incorporate in my butter garden if possible. Can you provide me some details for growing in zone 9?
    Appreciate any help you can give. Thank you, Cheryl

  2. You mentioned a con that Gateway does not bloom during monarch migration. Is that true for Georgia?

      1. Hi tony and all others,
        In the same way native to NYstate milkweed just appeared in our yard, so did Joe Pye. (I dropped “weed” cuz it’s. Not!) Butterflies, bees love it. My 1st swallowtail today; monarch’s in June although they’re not drawn to Syracuse area.
        Barb

  3. You mention the Eutrochium maculatum, is that the only species of Joe Pye Weed you recommend? I am asking because my local grower has 10 different species of Joe Pye Weed and I would like to make sure I get the best one for nectar for all the butterflies or are they all just as good as each other?

  4. Hello, I am wanting to start a station for butterflies. We have sandy soil with some clay down deep. Would that be a problem with planting. We live in East Texas and what would be the best plants for this station. Thanking you in advance.

    1. I am growing Joe Pye Gateway in NE Texas and it is doing very well. I have it in a west location and it is getting the full heat of the day. Mine grows 6 ft tall (at full bloom-July), is watered twice a week deeply. I do tie it to stakes in early June to withstand our wind storms.

    1. hi Carol, caterpillars only feed on milkweed, but they can form their chrysalis on a joe pye plant.

  5. Tony, I have both the regular and dwarf Joe Pyeweed growinug in my monarch waystation and noticed some chewholes (actually LOTS of chew holes) in the leaves. The caterpillars eventually get these long creamy-whitish hairs on them. What butterfly does Joe Pyeweed serve as a host plant for? Thanks Tony!

  6. Hi Tony,

    Question about Joe Pye. I have two of them which are at the center of my butterfly garden and I’m finding it difficult more now than years prior to support them. They flop over and sometimes crush things around them after heavy rainfall. I never used to have a problem with them and I’m wondering if it’s because in four years I’ve never separated the root balls for either of them. Any thoughts on what I could do?

    1. Hi Zack, this is not an issue I’ve encountered with the gateway variety, even though ours has grown to 8 feet before. Perhaps because it’s against a back fence? You could always try cutting it back earlier in the season to encourage bushier growth…I’ve never divided ours, but that might help the situation too. Those root balls can be massive after only a few years.

  7. BTW… FANTASTIC SITE!!! I’ve learned tons tonite, and its helping me plan my seeds purchase for this week.
    Re: J.P. pollinators…
    Some of my ABSOLUTE favorite floral photos are ones in which I captured Honeybees just going Crazy on the Beautiful Joe Pye plants growing on a wetter stretch of land at the local Community College. 🙂
    ~Jo in
    Fort Collins, Colorado

  8. So if they are to be planted in the fall outside if I get seeds now do I need to cold stratify before planting inside?

  9. I have had a Joe Pye Weed in my butterfly gardens for several years. It grows to about 6 feet. For some reason I have rarely, if ever, had any butterflies nectaring on it. What could be the reason?

    1. Hi Dottie, when I moved our Joe Pye into partial shade, there were noiceably less pollinators on it. However, it was also in a drier location which could have affected nectar content.

      For your situation, is it possible you had a different species? There are quite a few of them. If you regularly have butterflies, but they don’t visit the flowers, you might consider a different species or a different butterfly plant altogether. Buttonbush likes similar growing conditions to joe pye:

      http://monarchbutterflygarden.net/butterfly-plants/#WHBF

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