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Spotted Joe pye is a wetland species for wetland areas, restoration, rain gardens, and landscape ornamental.

Spotted Joe pye is a wetland species for wetland areas, restoration, rain gardens, and landscape ornamental. USDA, NRCS. 2012. The PLANTS Database (, 8 October 2012). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

Eupatorium maculatum

Spotted Joe pye weed

Native to North America


FIRST IMPRESSIONS:  Eupatorium maculatum is a large clumping perennial that injects architectural interest into the late summer landscape.  This robust wildflower has multiples of sturdy stems with whorls of bold attractive foliage.  In mid-summer, plants are topped with a frothy crown of rounded mauve-pink flower clusters.  This species thrives in sunny moist sites where it is frequented by fluttering butterflies. 

HABITAT & HARDINESS:  Eupatorium maculatum occurs in North America throughout the southern Canadian provinces and from Maine to North Carolina and west to Washington and Arizona.

Plants are indigenous to marshes, fens, rich open swamps, wet prairies, swampy thickets and sedge meadows.  Plants are usually found in high quality sandy wetlands but may occur in non-sandy wetlands.

This species is hardy from USDA Zones 2-7.

PLANT DESCRIPTION:  Eupatorium maculatum is an upright sturdy perennial with unbranched purple spotted pubescent stems.  Plants can form small colonies from underground rhizomes. 

The stems are clothed in large deep green toothed lance shaped leaves usually arranged in whorls of 5.   The bold leaves are large – up to 12” long.

From mid-summer until autumn, plants bear terminal flat topped flower corymbs that are usually about 7” across.  The flower clusters consist of many small feathery lavender-pink disc florets. 

The blossoms mature into soft buff colored seed clusters that are attractive into the winter.

Plants are usually 7’ tall or less but can occasionally reach 10’.  Over the years, plants expand to form 6’ beefy clumps.

CULTURAL & MAINTENANCE NEEDSEupatorium maculatum prefers full to part sun.  Plants thrive in moist to wet soils in fertile mineral rich silty or sandy loam soils.

In drought conditions, leaves are likely to scorch.  This species, however, is more tolerant of water-logged soils than its Joe Pye cousins.

Plants are pest resistant and foliage is unpalatable to deer and other herbivores.

LANDSCAPE USES:  Eupatorium maculatum is a dramatic Accent for a Wildlife Garden or moist Meadow. Plants are also used as Butterfly Nectar Plants, Cut Flowers or as part of a Grouping or Mass Planting.   This wildflower has Showy Blooms and aids in Erosion Control and Stormwater Management.  It can be used in Cottage Gardens, Deer Resistant Plantings, Rain Gardens, Water-wise Landscapes, Low Maintenance Plantings or Perennial Borders.

COMPANION & UNDERSTUDY PLANTS:  Try pairing Eupatorium maculatum with Aster oblongifolius ‘Raydon’s Favorite’, Coreopsis tripteris, Echinacea purpurea, Lobelia siphilitica, Monarda fistulosa, Rudbeckia fulgida var. fulgida, Silphium perfoliatum, Solidago odora or Sorghastrum nutans.

Eupatorium purpureum and Eupatorium fistulosum are worthy substitutes as they are tall plants with similar flowers, whorled leaves and comparable cultural requirements.

TRIVIA:  Flowers attract butterflies, skippers, moths and native bees.  This is a particular favorite of butterflies and often more than one species will be encountered on a flower cluster.  Caterpillars of several Moth species feed on the foliage.

The Latin name of this species has been changed to Eutrochium maculatum. Generally the former Eupatorium spp. with whorled leave are now Eutrochium spp. and the bonesets or thoroughworts which have opposite leaves are still classified as Eupatorium spp.

Eupatorium maculatum differs from similar species due to its flat topped flower clusters, and purple spotted pubescent stems.  E. fistulosum and E. purpurum have dome shaped flower clusters and smooth stems without purple spots.


7-10 ft


3 ft


4-5 ft

USDA Hardiness Zone:


Bloom Color:

Lavender-Pink, Mauve

Eupatorium maculatum Characteristics

Attracts Wildlife

  • Butterflies
  • Songbirds
  • Pollinators


  • Dried Flower
  • Rain Garden
  • Cut Flower
  • Naturalizing
  • Clay Soil
  • Long Blooming
  • Bog
  • Fragrant
  • East-Coast Native
  • Drought Tolerant


  • Full Sun to Partial Shade

Flowering Months

  • August
  • July
  • September

Foliage Color

  • Green

Juglans nigra Tolerance (Black Walnut)

  • Yes

Soil Moisture Preference

  • Moist to Wet

Interesting Notes:

For more information on this plant, visit the USDA PLANTS Database:

Plants that work well with Eupatorium maculatum ''

Thread leafed bluestar Thread leafed bluestar (Amsonia hubrichtii)
Flat topped white aster Flat topped white aster (Aster umbellatus)
Thousand-flowered aster Thousand-flowered aster (Boltonia asteroides)
Fox sedge Fox sedge (Carex vulpinoidea)
New Jersey tea New Jersey tea (Ceanothus americanus)
Pink tickseed Pink tickseed (Coreopsis rosea)
Tall coreopsis Tall coreopsis (Coreopsis tripteris)
Great Blue Lobelia Great Blue Lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica)
Wild bergamot Wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa)
Black-eyed Susan Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida v. fulgida)
Cup plant Cup plant (Silphium perfoliatum)
Sweet goldenrod Sweet goldenrod (Solidago odora)
Common sneezeweed Common sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale)
Blue vervain Blue vervain (Verbena hastata)

Substitutions for Eupatorium maculatum

Joe pye weed Joe pye weed (Eupatorium fistulosum)