Zone: 4 to 8
Soil: sand to clay
Light: Full sun to part sun
Bloom colour: White
Bloom period: Late summer to fall
Height: 3 to 6 feet
Moisture:Usually medium to moist
Attracts: A variety of bees and butterflies.
Notes: The bonesets are now separated from the Joe-Pye Weeds, but they still remain a fairly large genus on their own. While the plants are not particularly stunning, they are of interest to a wildlife gardener as they are attractive to a range of insects, especially E. perfoliatum.
They flower for about 4 weeks starting in August and like the Joe-Pye Weeds, they have atypical white composite flowers that lack ray florets. The flowers grow in flattened flowerheads at the top of the plant.
E. perfoliatum has the most promise as a garden plant because it has interesting perfoliate leaves while attracting a great deal of wildlife. In the wild, this plant is found in habitats with moist soils, but in a regular garden, you will find it to be quite versatile and easy to grow. It spreads by reseeding but compared to asters, it is easy to keep under control. This plant lies plenty of sun and grows to about 4 - 5 feet high.
E. rugosum is a useful plant in dry shade and is one of the last plants to flower in the garden. It is a somewhat weedier plant than E. perfoliatum but en masse it will brighten up the shade garden at the end of the growing season. It spreads readily by seeding, so be prepared to pull plants before they flower. In Toronto, this plant flowers in October and is therefore an important late season nectar source for bees.
Eupatorium altissimum is also another boneset that is native to Ontario that sometimes may be available in a nursery. It does well in dry and sunny sites and combines well with Big Blue Stem due to its height, which is typically 5-6 feet.