St. John's Wort
St. John’s Wort Plant
A landscape workhorse, St. John’s wort is a champion at providing food and shelter to wildlife—especially pollinators—as well as adding blossoms, colorful foliage, and great texture to entry gardens, foundation plantings, perennial beds, and mixed shrub borders. This North American native all-star shrub is easy to grow and a cinch to incorporate into almost any landscape. You’re sure to delight in its sunny yellow flowers in summer and low-maintenance habit year-round. Seldom browsed by deer and rabbits, it is a great plant for landscape plagued by these munching pests.
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Where to Plant
St. John's wort thrives in full sun to part shade and moist, well-drained soil. It is tolerant of a wide range of soil types, including slow-draining clay. Shrubs growing in partly shaded sites will have fewer blossoms than shrubs planted in full sun. In areas with wet winters, St. John's wort can be short-lived. If wet winters are a challenge in your area, plant St. John's wort in well-drained, sandy soil.
St. John's Wort Care Must-Knows
Plant St. John's wort in spring or early summer. Blanket soil around plants with a 2-inch-thick layer of mulch and water plants regularly during the first growing season to encourage an extensive root system. Reduce watering during the second growing season.
In some climates the tips of St. John's wort branches die back in winter. Simply shear the plants back to live wood in spring and this hardy perennial will regrow. St. John's wort blooms on new growth so winter dieback is not a problem. Prune plants as needed in early spring and they will produce a large crop of flowers in summer. Every three or four years, consider renewal pruning St. John's wort. Renewal pruning involves shearing the plant back to half its height in spring. Renewal pruning encourages dense, vibrant new growth and helps the plant retain a pleasing, rounded form.
More Varieties of St. John's Wort
Hypericum androsaemum 'Seiball' begins blooming with large yellow flowers in late spring and continues to bloom through fall. By midsummer, bright orange-red berries adorn the plant, becoming more profuse as the season progresses. Cut stems with berries for use in cut-flower arrangements. This rust-resistant plant grows 12-36 inches tall and wide. Zones 5-8
Hypericum perforatum is a shrubby perennial with bright yellow blooms and green leaves, often edged in red during cool weather. This species is used as an herbal supplement, but because it can cause interaction with other drugs, consult your doctor before ingesting it. The plant grows 1-3 feet tall, making an attractive groundcover when planted en masse. Zones 3-8
Hypericum kalmianum 'Deppe' bears loads of sunny yellow blooms from early through late summer. In fall, it develops dull red berries that persist through winter. Deer avoid this heat-tolerant shrub. It grows 2-3 feet tall and wide. Zones 4-8