Home Herbs How to Grow St. John’s Wort: A Comprehensive Guide

How to Grow St. John’s Wort: A Comprehensive Guide

by Gregory
3 minutes read

How to Grow St. John’s Wort

What is St. John’s Wort?

St. John’s wort (Hypericum spp.) is a genus of plants that includes annuals, perennials, and shrubs. It’s known for its bright yellow flowers and prominent stamens. Some species develop red-brown berries in the fall. The most well-known species is Hypericum perforatum, which is native to Europe and Asia.

Is St. John’s Wort Poisonous?

Yes, all plants in the St. John’s wort genus are mildly poisonous to people and animals. Large doses can cause sensitivity to light, leading to dermatitis. Consuming large quantities can even be fatal.

How to Grow St. John’s Wort

St. John’s wort is easy to grow and tolerant of a wide range of conditions. It prefers moist but well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade. Shrubby varieties can become untidy and should be pruned in spring.

Where to Grow St. John’s Wort

Hypericum perforatum is perfect for wildflower meadows and other natural planting schemes. Shrubby types are ideal for ornamental borders, while low-growing varieties can be used as ground cover. Some species, like Hypericum inodorium, can even be grown in pots.

How to Plant St. John’s Wort

Plant St. John’s wort like any other plant. Dig a hole slightly wider but no deeper than the original pot. Gently loosen any tangled roots and place the plant in the hole. Fill in with soil and firm around the base. Water well.

St. John’s Wort Care

All St. John’s worts are easy to care for. They can tolerate temporary flooding, but they will benefit from extra watering during droughts, especially young plants. Shrubby varieties may need to be cut back in spring to keep them tidy.

How to Propagate St. John’s Wort

Hypericum perforatum is a prolific self-seeder, so you may find yourself removing seedlings rather than trying to propagate it. Larger, shrubby types can be propagated from hardwood cuttings.

Pests and Diseases

St. John’s wort is not typically bothered by pests or diseases.

Types of St. John’s Wort to Grow

There are many different types of St. John’s wort to choose from, including:

  • Hypericum hidcoteense ‘Hidcote’: A popular variety with masses of yellow blooms and red-brown berries.
  • Hypericum moserianum ‘Tricolor’: A low-growing variety perfect for ground cover.
  • Hypericum inodorium ‘Magical White’: Bears yellow flowers and white fruits. Can be grown in pots or as ground cover.
  • Hypericum elodes: Suitable for moist soils and perfect for edging ponds.
  • Hypericum x dummeri ‘Peter Dummer’: A low-growing shrub with yellow flowers and orange stamens.
  • Hypericum ‘Magical Red Flame’: A compact shrub with flowers and fruit that appear at the same time.
  • Hypericum ‘Gemo’: A low-growing shrub with large yellow flowers and red-blushed fruits.

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