Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Plants for wet clay

A photo from the long Labor Day weekend - three late season plants for wet clay: Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorum maculatum 'Purple Bush'), Sanguisorba canadensis, and Sanguisorba tenuifolia.


  1. I also find boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum) a nice companion to Joe Pye, in looks and growing conditions.

  2. Hi James, thanks for these suggestions for those difficult conditions. I have been searching for Sanguisorbas after reading several books and articles touting their charms. Finally found some online, waiting for their arrival. Good to know they like the same site as the Joe Pye. :-)

  3. Monica, I do have some patches of boneset. The patterning of the leaves is very attractive, as are the white flowers. There are two more on the roadside near by house. I'm thinking of moving them into my garden. Yes, they like the wet.

  4. Frances, Sanguisorbas rank among my favorites. Mine grow too tall and flop over by bloom time. Next year I'll cut them back midsummer and try to keep them within bounds. I have three Sanguisorba canadensis near my pond; for some reason (highly compressed clay, I think) they stay between three and four feet, and remain upright. If you ever find a source of Sangisorba tenuifolia Alba, let me know. I'm still searching for it.

  5. I have clay soil as well. My sanguisorba is doing well but I have yet to get any Joes Pye Weed to grow from seed. Will keep trying.

  6. patientgardener, I'm surprised you have trouble growing Joe Pye Weed from seed. With our extremely wet spring and summer, I find it coming up all over and have to pull it out.

  7. I say, the Joe Pye weed looks more like boneset with that pink tone and the shape of the clustered blossomes. My Joe Pye beside my boneset has a deep purple color. Maybe its explained by different parts of the country have different names?

  8. Sissy,
    It's definitely Joe Pye Weed. It's about seven feet tall, and the stems are red (deep purple red). I have boneset too, which has white flowers, green stems, and is much shorter. All my Joe Pye this year have much smaller flower heads than normal. I think the cause is our abnormally cool spring and summer, and the almost constant rain.

  9. Dear James,
    I'm really happy that finally I have some time to read your blog. This is always a great joy to me.

    I think it is not Sanguisorba officinalis 'Red Thunder', but rather Sanguisorba tenuifolia. Red Thunder has smaller heads, in a reddish brown tone, and its stem is more rigid. But this plant is beautiful anyway.

    Here we have a charming Indian summer. I wish you a nice, warm fall too.


  10. Kata,
    I'm certain you are correct. After I guessed, I saw a photo of Sanguisorba tenuifolia and was certain I had made a mistake. We are not yet far enough into fall to have an Indian summer, but on the whole, we've had an unusually wet and cool summer.



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