Because I have been gardening at my home for over 20 years, I often don’t have room to add a really big plant. The native Joe Pye Weed can get up to 6 feet tall and make a clump of about 4 feet wide. It takes quite a garden to have room for a plant like that!
Luckily the breeders–who are doing a “Honey I shrunk the shrubs” thing with just about every plant imaginable–have come out with two smaller cultivars. Remember, smaller is a relative term when the plant you’re starting with is 6 foot tall to begin with!
I chose “Little Joe,” which is still going to get 3-4 feet tall and perhaps up to 2 feet wide. The plant you are looking at is only in its first full year–and remember the rule with perennials: the first year it sleeps, the second year it creeps, the third year you reap (and I have added my own part to that which is, the fourth year, you dig and divide!)
So this plant is just barely becoming established. By next year it should be double its size and the third year it should be full sized.
There is a second “dwarf” cultivar called ‘Baby Joe.’ It has darker foliage and stays smaller yet: 2-3 feet tall, but about as wide. So remember, this is still not a tiny plant.
But for those without meadow gardens, these “nativars” might be just the thing!