Overwintering is an important part of perennial care because it ensures the plants return in the spring. Joe Pye Weed is a low-maintenance plant during the growing season, requiring even less maintenance during the winter. Joe Pye Weed grows as an herbaceous perennial in zones 4 through 8. Winter care for Joe Pye Weed is easy and not very involved. Taking the proper steps to care for the plant is vital to enjoying the lovely fragrant blooms each year.
Photo courtesy of garden beth
Protecting Joe Pye Weed in Winter
Joe Pye Weed does not need special care during the winter because this plant is an herbaceous perennial and will go dormant after the first hard freeze. You can add a layer of mulch over the root zone to protect the roots from freezing and thawing cycles. All growth will die back and can be removed in the fall or spring.
Cutting Back Joe Pye Weed For Winter
The foliage and stems will turn brown after the first hard freeze and can be removed in the fall or the spring; it is a matter of preference. Removing the growth in the fall reduces the risk of mold or fungus forming in dead plant matter. Leaving the growth during the winter provides an extra layer of insulation to protect the shallow root system, and benefits overwintering insects. You can remove the dead growth whenever you prefer by cutting the stems back to at least 6 inches above the soil level.
Joe Pye Weed Winter Care in Pots
Potted Joe Pye Weed should be moved to a protected area. If you live in zone 4 or below, relocate the container to a shed, garage, or basement to ensure the plant overwinters successfully. In other zones, place the pot on a porch or other protected space, so the plant is not exposed to severe storms or standing water. The dead growth can be removed for a tidy appearance and ease of moving the container. Place the container back in the desired location in spring when the temperature is consistently warm.
Watering Joe Pye Weed in Winter
Do not water Joe Pye Weed during the winter. The plant goes dormant after the first hard frost, and dormant landscape plants do not need much water. This perennial can continue to support itself without additional help. In mild climates, you can continue to water Joe Pye Weed in the fall and winter if the weather is dry and the plant has not gone dormant. Once new growth appears in the spring, resume regular watering.
Growing Joe Pye Weed Indoors
Joe Pye Weed does not make a good houseplant. This perennial is large, so fitting it inside can be a challenge, and it is also herbaceous, so once the vegetation dies back, there is nothing to enjoy. Allow Joe Pye Weed to rest up and wait until spring to enjoy the foliage and fragrant flowers.
Steps To Care For Joe Pye Weed in Winter
Winter care for Joe Pye Weed is minimal since this plant is an herbaceous perennial. With that said, this plant requires some care to help it survive the winter and return in the spring.
Step 1 - Remove dead growth in the late fall or early spring.
Step 2 - Trim back dead growth, leaving up to 6 inches above the soil level.
Step 3 - Mulch the root zone with compost or wood chips in the fall.
Step 4 - Moved potted Joe Pye Weed to a protected area, especially in the lower growing zones.
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Author Alison Cotsonas - Published 07-05-2023