Growing Boneset: How To Cultivate This Low-Maintenance, Nursing Plant

Written by: Lars Nyman

Growing Boneset

Growing Boneset

Growing Boneset is a rewarding and enjoyable experience. The plant is popularly used to make herbal teas, which have a slightly bitter taste with a hint of minty sweetness. Boneset is also known to have many health benefits – it can help reduce fever and can be used to treat colds and flu. Growing this plant offers a great way to kick off an herbal healing journey, and its rewards are enjoyable whether you use it for health or just enjoy its taste.

Cheatsheet: Growing Boneset


🌿 Low-maintenance perennial plant
🌿 Natural insect repellent
🌿 Medicinal properties for colds, flu, and inflammation


  • 🌱 Sow seeds in well-drained soil
  • ☀️ Requires full sun to partial shade
  • 🌧️ Thrives in moist conditions


  • 💧 Water deeply once a week
  • 🍃 Cut back after flowering to promote growth
  • 🌱 Divide clumps every 3-4 years


🔪 Collect leaves when the plant is in full bloom
🌸 Dry and store in an airtight container


  • 💊 Infuse leaves for tea to relieve respiratory ailments
  • 🌼 Create soothing salve for skin irritations

Fun Facts:

🌍 Native to North America
🔬 Name "boneset" due to its use in treating dengue fever symptoms
🦋 Attracts butterflies to your garden

As a seasoned gardener, I am always on the lookout for low-maintenance plants that offer a touch of beauty and have practical benefits. And that's when I stumbled upon Boneset, a nursing plant that has become a cherished addition to my garden. Today, I want to share with you my personal journey of growing Boneset and provide you with all the essential information and tips you need to cultivate this versatile plant.

1. Getting to Know Boneset:

Did you know that the scientific name for Boneset is Eupatorium perfoliatum? This native North American plant has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties, particularly in nursing ailments.

Boneset is a captivating herbaceous perennial that can reach heights of 3 to 5 feet, boasting clusters of small white flowers that bloom from late summer to early fall. It is a hardy plant that thrives in moist soil and partial shade, making it perfect for gardeners who are looking for a fuss-free addition to their landscape.

2. Propagation and Planting:

If you're wondering how to grow Boneset, the good news is that it's a plant that can be easily propagated through seeds or root divisions. Although direct sowing is possible, I highly recommend starting with seeds indoors in late winter or early spring to ensure a strong start.

3. Soil and Sun Requirements:

One of the reasons why Boneset has gained popularity among gardeners is its adaptability to various soil types. However, it thrives best in moist, rich soil. When it comes to sunlight, Boneset prefers partial shade, especially during the scorching afternoon hours. Finding the right balance will ensure healthy growth and abundant blooms.

4. Watering and Maintenance:

Boneset is a relatively low-maintenance plant once established. Adequate watering is crucial during its initial growth phase, ensuring the soil is consistently moist but not waterlogged. Pruning in early spring will help maintain its shape and promote bushier growth.

5. Benefits of Growing Boneset:

Prepare to be amazed by the incredible health benefits of Boneset. According to traditional herbal medicine, this remarkable plant is renowned for its ability to relieve respiratory ailments, ease digestive issues, and even reduce fever. However, always consult a healthcare professional before using Boneset.

Additionally, Boneset is a magnet for pollinators, including bees and butterflies, making it a welcome addition to any garden aiming to support local biodiversity. Its charming white flowers also add a touch of elegance to your landscape, creating a tranquil and serene ambiance.

6. Combining Boneset with Other Plants:

Boneset can serve as an excellent companion plant for a variety of species. It pairs exceptionally well with other low-maintenance perennials, such as Echinacea, Black Eyed Susan, and Joe Pye Weed. This harmonious combination not only creates a visually striking garden but also provides a habitat for beneficial creatures, ensuring a thriving ecosystem.

So there you have it! Growing Boneset has been an incredible adventure for me, and I hope this guide has inspired you to embark on your own journey. Give this low-maintenance, nursing plant a try, and watch as it adds both beauty and practicality to your garden. Happy gardening!

Frequently Asked Questions about Growing Boneset:

1. How do I grow boneset?

Plant boneset seeds in well-draining soil, in a sunny or partially shaded area. Keep the soil consistently moist until seeds germinate.

2. When is the best time to plant boneset?

Plant boneset seeds in early spring or sow them directly in the fall for a head start in the following year.

3. Does boneset require special care?

Boneset is a low-maintenance plant that thrives in most conditions. However, regular watering and occasional fertilizing can promote optimal growth.

4. Can boneset be grown in pots or containers?

Yes, boneset can be grown in pots or containers as long as there is sufficient space for its roots to grow. Choose a medium-sized container with good drainage.

5. How tall does boneset typically grow?

Boneset can reach a height of 3 to 5 feet when fully grown. Pruning can help maintain a more compact shape if desired.

6. Does boneset attract pollinators?

Absolutely! Boneset flowers are a magnet for bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects, making it a great addition to any pollinator-friendly garden.

7. Is boneset invasive?

No, boneset is not considered invasive. However, it can self-seed and spread, so it's important to monitor and control its growth if necessary.

8. Can boneset be used medicinally?

Yes, boneset has a long history of being used medicinally. Its leaves and flowers can be made into teas or tinctures to help relieve various ailments such as cold and flu symptoms.

9. Are there any other uses for boneset?

Aside from its medicinal properties, boneset can also be incorporated into dried flower arrangements or used as a natural pest deterrent in the garden.

10. Can I divide boneset to propagate it?

Yes, boneset can be divided in early spring or fall to create new plants. Make sure each division has a healthy root system and replant them promptly.

Growing Boneset is great for both gardens and pollinators! It's easy to care for and provides a great source of nectar and pollen for bees and butterflies. Not only that, Boneset has long been used in traditional medicine for alleviating fever and pain, so having some on hand for home healthcare can be beneficial. In addition, you will have a beautiful perennial in your garden that can grace it with fragrant white flowers during late summer. So why not give it a try and join the many people who are discovering the benefits of adding this wonderful plant to their garden!

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