Thursday, August 8, 2013

Little Joe - A Garden Standout

I don't know about you but I have never had luck growing a butterfly bush. I've tried different ones in various locations in my yard and at one point thought I had a winner but alas, it wasn't meant to be. It ending up dying like the others. The three years we spent together weren't even that great. It never got taller than my waist and I never saw any butterflies around it so I gave up. Even though I was tempted to try another and another, every time I saw one at the local nursery, I knew it would end badly. So I would have to rely on my other flowers to draw in the butterflies. Or so I thought. My hubby and I used to always take trips to Lowes where I would swindle my way to the garden section and convince him that our garden wasn't quite finished. Just a few more plants needed to make it perfect. Five plants later and we'd be out the door. Well during one of those trips I picked up a plant named Eupatorium dubium 'Little Joe' or Joe Pye Weed as it's commonly called. This is a dwarf cultivar which in my case has grown to nearly 5 feet tall but is still smaller than my mother-in-law's larger sized monster with much bigger leaves. It will spread but in five years mine is still very controlled. Now, I knew nothing about this plant when I bought it. I didn't even think I was going to like it but I'm so glad I went home with it because it really is a show stopper! Every year butterflies flock to it, which is great because I swear I have a sign above my house that says, "Butterfly Crossing". They travel the same route every year! Coming and going the same way and entering the woods in the same area, it's pretty cool. Well wary travelers have taken advantage of what this beautiful plant has to offer and that's my reward.
My 'Little Joe' has thrived in poor-good soil with only the rain water to drink. It is beside my pond but the pond is surrounded by plastic so it can't leach water from it. Every once in a while (once a season??) I throw some basic plant food at it but not on a regular basis. I've even transplanted some and it came up great this Summer and is blooming happily beside a large Zebra Grass. I'm conidering moving more at some point because I'd love to offer the bees and butterflies different areas to sit and rest away from the house.
So if you're like me and can not grow a Butterfly Bush to save your life, or it's, I say to give this awesome plant a go. If you want to attract butterflies and bees and bugs to your garden it's definitely worth investing in.
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