Joe Pye Weed Companion Plants

Add style, control a damp area, and create a pollinator-friendly space with Joe Pye weed. This North American native naturally grows in damp soil in zones 4 through 8. The feathery, fragrant flower clusters bloom from mid-summer through fall, adding color and attracting pollinators. The flowers bloom on top of tall, upright stems densely covered in lance-shaped foliage.

Mature plants can stand a few feet tall and wide, making this herbaceous perennial good for creating a border along a stream, pond, or foundation planting. Joe Pye weed is low maintenance and lends a prairie or meadow look.


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Shrubs To Plant With Joe Pye Weed

Chaste tree is a warm-weather bush that grows in zones 7 through 9. The tall flower spikes bloom in the spring and summer and attract pollinators. Select a spot that receives full sun for a chaste tree, and plant the shorter Joe Pye weed along the base for a low-maintenance, eye-catching display.

Crape myrtle is a flowering tree-like shrub that thrives in warm weather and full sun. The peeling bark provides visual interest during the winter, but crape myrtle is most impressive when it blooms in summer and fall. Select a crape myrtle with bloom colors that flatter Joe Pye weed, and enjoy the summer spectacle!

Oakleaf hydrangea, honeysuckle, rose of Sharon, and sumac are shrubs with a bushier form that go well with Joe Pye weed. These plants need full sun and prefer or can handle damp conditions. Plant these shrubs in natural drifts of 3 or 5 for an organic look, or evenly space them in rows to conceal a foundation wall or fence, creating a more formal look.

Perennials To Plant With Joe Pye Weed

The ruffled flowers of the iris and peony are stunning and capture attention during the spring. Irises and peonies emerge and bloom in the spring, providing interest while the Joe Pye weed fills in. The flowers of the iris and peony fade by the time the Joe Pye weed blooms, but the foliage stays in place, providing a complete and lush feeling. 

Enjoy an overlapping bloom season by planting a balloon flower plant with Joe Pye weed. The wide blooms of the balloon flower are often purple or pink and complement the Joe Pye weed’s flower clusters. Balloon flowers need full sun to bloom well, so position the plants so both are in the sun, with the taller Joe Pye weed in back.

The tall, arching foliage of ornamental grasses adds texture and helps the Joe Pye weed’s flowers stand out while creating a lush landscape. Choose a cultivar that thrives in full sun and damp conditions. Plant Joe Pye weed and ornamental grass along a stream bed or lake edge to prevent erosion.


Photo by DC Gardens, unmodified, Flickr, copyright CC BY 2.0 DEED

Annuals To Plant With Joe Pye Weed

Annual sunflowers can bloom from spring through fall, depending on the variety, and provide contrast to Joe Pye weed. The bold, sunny yellow flowers stand out against the feathery flower cluster of the Joe Pye weed.

California poppy is another annual that goes well with Joe Pye weed. This North American native is often grown as an annual and creates a meadow-like vibe. California poppies work well in beds and borders with Joe Pye weed, especially when planted in full sun.

Best Companion Plants For Joe Pye Weed in Containers

Feature Joe Pye weed in a container for its height and late-season flowers. Pair this native plant with lantana. The tiny flower clusters offer contrast against the larger flower groupings on the Joe Pye weed, while the glossy green foliage fills the spaces between the flowers. Lantana is often used as a ground cover, and the trailing stems will cascade over the edge of a container.

Plants Not To Grow With Joe Pye Weed

Joe Pye weed goes well with most plants, and the only reason not to include a specific plant is if the care needs differ too much for both plants to thrive in the same space. Plants that need partial sun or shade, like coral bells and lungwort, are unsuitable companions for Joe Pye weed, which requires full sun. Joe Pye weed is not a good fit in a xeriscaped space since it has moderate water needs.

Best Plants To Grow With Joe Pye Weed

Honeysuckle, crape myrtle, and peonies are some of the best plants to grow with Joe Pye weed. All of these plants prefer full sun, and while many are drought tolerant, they grow best when they receive regular water. Joe Pye weed tends to spread by seed and runners, so give it plenty of space, and be prepared to remove any unwanted volunteers. 

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Author Alison Cotsonas - Published 10-14-2023