“Prune in June” – Joe Pye Weed

When someone tells me “Leave well enough alone”, you know what I say?

How about I DON’T leave it alone and make it even … weller.

Or … more well.

Or … you get the point.

Which brings me to the next entry in my “Prune in June” series; Eupatorium ‘Gateway’, more commonly known as Joe Pye Weed.

This statuesque perennial (close to six feet tall) has been a solid performer for me for years now, so why would I want to mess with a good thing?:

Because, well, why not?

Let’s play around a bit and have fun with it. It’s an opportunity to get the hands dirty, experiment, observe and learn a thing or two. All good things last time I checked.

Here is what my Joe Pye Weed (JPW) collection currently looks like:  

And here is a close up shot of a “growing tip” on one of the branches. These are easy to identify as a sort of “swirl” in the middle of the surrounding leaves:  

Tracy DiSibato-Aust (“T’Aust” as I’ll refer to her going forward), who I discussed in my prior post, recommends pinching this new growth in mid June (other wise known as “now”) which causes “5 breaks to emerge from the stem” and ultimately creates a fuller plant.

Well, I did just what my lady said:    

In fact, I pinched all of the stems along the front of the JPW plants. My hope is to create a layered effect where those pinched stems bloom a little smaller on stems a little shorter than those in the back that were left unpinched:

Here are said unpinched stems:

And here is the same shot as above but with the stems in front now pinched:

As I stated in my last post, I’ll continue to track the developments as these plants continue to adjust and grow throughout the summer.

And you know you’ll be waiting to see these results with bated breath.

Because I am here to both educate and entertain.


11 thoughts on ““Prune in June” – Joe Pye Weed

  1. Laurrie

    I do! I do want to see what comes of your pinching technique.

    Because I can prune trees, and I can shape shrubs, and I can even eliminate plants from my garden, but the process of pinching mums, daisies, sedums, asters, eupatoriums and the like has me mystified. Show us step by step how this works out.

  2. debbie

    One of my favorite standards. The butterflies will love you with all the new blooms. debbie ericson, gardener for the bees and other winged pollenators

  3. Marcia

    I’m waiting to see what happens, too because the one year that the deer pruned these for me meant that there were fewer blossoms on my Joe Pye. It was a big disappointment. For now I’ll let my stand grow and it currently stands 5 ft or more and very full.

  4. Glory Lennon

    I only have the common Joe Pye Weed…you know, the actual weed or wildflower, but it’s already blooming, so I don’t suppose I could pinch back now. Now if I could only remember for next year….

  5. Jennifer

    I am already a believer in this technique. Last year as an experiment, I pinched back my Sedum Matrona which had always grew tall and then flopped when in flower. It worked! The pinched stems were shorter and produced branching stems and smaller flowers. After reading your post, I think I amy try this technique on my Joe Pye Weed. Have a great weekend!

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