St. Johns Wort Plant: Growing Devil’s Scourge

The St Johns wort plant is a helpful backyard shrub offering multi-season visible curiosity in backyard design, particularly from early summer season to fall when its shiny yellow flowers deliver cheeriness to a shady nook.  St. John’s wort could also be one of the crucial adaptive crops you’ll come throughout in horticulture, rising effectively in most forms of soil and uncovered areas, even tolerating drought circumstances.  As soon as established, this gorgeous plant will take care of itself, however don’t be fooled by its unassuming nature! St. John’s wort can grow to be a little bit of a thug within the backyard if not managed.

Many folklores and traditions are related to the St. John’s wort, Hypericum perforatum.  The title Hypericum comes from the Greek hyper which means above and eikon which means picture and originates from the plant’s use to adorn homes across the feast day of St. John the Baptist, celebrated on 24th June.  The yellow flowers of Hypericum perforatum have been positioned above photographs of the saint to assist thrust back evil spirits and even dying itself.  Perforatum comes from the translucent dots on the leaves seen when held as much as the sunshine.

Different folklore beliefs embody grinding the flower buds and leaves of Hypericum perforatum to secrete a pink juice believed to heal cuts and wounds. Younger women all through Europe wore a flower round their necks as a love appeal. Right this moment the various species and cultivars of St. John’s wort are utilized in gardening as a floor cowl and shade tolerant plant. In trendy occasions the plant is used medicinally in integrative well being to deal with melancholy, anxiousness, delicate to reasonable melancholy, and nerve ache. Nonetheless, as with all conventional medicines, it’s best to seek the advice of a physician earlier than use.

Fast Care Information

The flowers that St. Johns wort produces are fairly. Supply: outdoorPDK
Widespread Identify Widespread St. John’s wort, St. John’s wort, herb John, Perforate St John’s-wort, satan chaser, satan’s flight, satan’s scourge, God’s marvel plant, penny John, Klamath weed, rosin rose and goat weed
Scientific Identify Hypericum perforatum
Household Hypericaceae
Peak & Unfold 1.5-3ft (50-100cms) x 1.5ft (50cm) 
Gentle Full solar/half shade
Soil Loam, silty, clay or sandy soils
Water Drought tolerant
Pests & Illnesses None 

All About St. John’s Wort

Budding St. Johns wort
Budding St. John’s wort plant with water drops on leaves. Supply: pstenzel71

The botanical title for St. John’s wort is Hypericum perforatum.  The frequent names along with ‘St. John’s wort’ are in depth and mirror the folklore traditions of this plant.  They embody frequent St. John’s wort, perforate St John’s-wort, herb John, satan chaser, satan’s flight, satan’s scourge, God’s marvel plant, penny John, Klamath weed, rosin rose, and goat weed.

There are over 400 sorts of the Hypericum genus within the Hypericaceae household of crops, originating in Europe, southwestern Asia, and North Africa. It has naturalized in North America, Nova Scotia, and Australia. Hypericum perforatum is the true St. John’s wort within the genus Hypericum and is a small to medium-sized herbaceous shrub with yellow flowers, rising to 1.5-3ft (50-100cms) in peak and round 1.5ft (50cm) throughout. 

Crops have pink/brown upright ribbed stems with small, ovate deciduous blue-green foliage with translucent dots, rising in reverse pairs to round 1.25 inches (3cm) lengthy.  New leaves sprout in yellow-green clusters. Flowers develop in abundance and are star-shaped, five-petalled, yellow, and as much as 1inch (2.5cm) throughout.  The fruit encompass small, grooved darkish pink berries or seed capsules containing tiny brown/black seeds.  

Though St. John’s wort is a comparatively small shrub, it will possibly develop in depth rhizomatic root methods that are troublesome to take away from the backyard as soon as established.  Crops additionally self-seed, including to upkeep points – which is why in some international locations, the crops are labeled as noxious weeds.  

Planting St. John’s Wort

Develop St. John’s wort crops from seed, cuttings, or shop-bought crops and transplants.  Sow Perforate St John’s wort seeds indoors 6-8 weeks earlier than the final frost for planting out when all danger of frost has handed.  As absolutely hardy shrubs, mature St. John’s wort crops might be planted at any time of the yr besides when the bottom is frozen. 

To assist crops set up rapidly and to cut back the danger of frost injury to roots, plant from early spring to fall.  Transplants produced from seed or cuttings taken in mid to late summer season must be planted out when sturdy roots have developed.

Hypericum perforatum crops will adapt to virtually any location and soil kind within the backyard however carry out greatest in full solar to partial shade in fertile, well-drained soil.  Crops will do effectively in containers with plenty of good high quality compost added however might must be watered extra continuously.  St. John’s wort makes beautiful shrub borders and works effectively in wildlife and naturalistic rock gardens, alongside pathways, and in shaded spots the place most different crops received’t thrive. The added bonus of its deer-resistant nature means they’re seldom severely broken. You possibly can develop St. John’s Wort virtually anyplace. 

There are different species to select from too, like creeping St. John’s Wort crops (Hypericum calycinum) that work effectively as floor cowl. Or, attempt Hypericum kalmianum, the bushier model.

To plant Hypericum within the backyard, merely dig a gap double the scale of the foundation ball or a container at the very least 1ft (30cm) in diameter and fill with plenty of contemporary natural compost so as to add vitamins and enhance moisture retention.  Set the plant into the area, making certain the stem is on the similar stage as the bottom floor as within the pot.  

Hypericum Perforatum Care

Devil's scourge
The plant has a number of fanciful names, reminiscent of satan’s scourge. Supply: auntiepauline

St. John’s wort is a low-maintenance, extraordinarily adaptable plant to develop in your personal backyard.  As soon as established, it requires little or no aftercare, though a watchful eye is important to include its unfold.

Solar and Temperature

Solar and temperature necessities when rising St. John’s wort are dependent in your location.  Present partial shade in southern/scorching climates in the course of the hottest time of day and develop in full solar in northern/cooler climates.  Typically, St. John’s wort tolerates each full solar and virtually full shade. Nevertheless, plant well being will start to deteriorate when every day temperatures are constantly above 75ºF (24 ºC).  

Equally, an excessive amount of shade can stunt plant development. Develop St. John’s Wort in USDA zones 5-10 for full hardiness. In colder zones, give your plant roots loads of safety to see if they’ll perennialize.  Crops will profit from winter mulch, particularly if grown in moist soil.

Water and Humidity

Whenever you develop St. John’s Wort within the backyard, preserve the soil moist till younger crops have established.  St. John’s wort will tolerate durations of drought and can even survive occasional flooding.  Water within the morning or early night with water directed on the soil.  Common irrigation will not be obligatory besides throughout lengthy durations of drought and isn’t required over winter.


St. John’s wort will adapt to all backyard soil sorts, sand, silty, clay, loam, acidic or alkaline, and even poor soil and compacted floor, however just like the plant prefers greatest in wealthy, well-drained soils with common moisture content material. If you wish to adapt a lighter soil kind, present St. John’s Worts with additions of compost and agricultural sand. General, so long as the soil is well-drained, Hypericum shrubs will flower and thrive.


Rosin rose flower bud
The form of the flower bud earned this plant the frequent title ‘rosin rose’. Supply: pstenzel71

A superb natural mulch in fall and/or spring is sufficient to preserve St. John’s wort crops going all through the rising season. Fertilize Hypericum shrubs planted in poor soils to assist them bloom in summer season by means of fall. 


It isn’t essential to prune once you develop St. John’s wort crops until they grow to be untidy and wish re-shaping.  The yellow flowers develop on outdated wooden so pruning again any new development in early to mid-spring will present form and stimulate development while nonetheless making certain the Hypericum shrubs nonetheless flower in June.


There are 3 ways to efficiently propagate and develop St. John’s wort.  The primary methodology is to start out seed indoors in module cells from early spring for planting exterior within the backyard after the final frost date.  

Seeds will also be sown instantly exterior as soon as all danger of frost has handed.  Sow seeds right into a drill ready with plenty of contemporary compost, urgent them gently to make good contact with the soil and water effectively.  No must cowl as gentle publicity helps with germination, which might take 10 to twenty days.  Skinny seedlings to 1ft (30cms). Hypericum seeds will also be sown in fall for transplanting the next spring.

Take softwood cuttings from new, non-flower development in July/August.  Reduce 4ins (10cms) of the stem simply above a leaf bud and take away the decrease leaves.  Dip the lower finish into some rooting hormone and stick the stem reducing right into a pot crammed with a mixture of compost and perlite.  When roots have shaped in a number of weeks’ time it’s prepared to enter the backyard.

St. John’s wort will also be propagated by division in spring or fall.  Rigorously dig across the plant and gently tease the foundation ball from the bottom. Utilizing two forks back-to-back or a pointy knife/noticed, divide the foundation ball in two.  Replant the divisions into their new backyard areas or right into a pot as quickly as doable and water effectively till established.


Hypericum perforatum
Hypericum perforatum’s berries darken as they age. Supply: Julie

St. John’s wort takes care of itself, typically too effectively, which is when it will possibly grow to be an issue.  On a optimistic notice, Hypericum crops are not often affected by pests or illnesses. 

Rising Issues

St. John’s wort is a really hardy and intensely adaptable shrub that may tolerate most rising environments making it an incredible shrub to develop in troublesome soils and circumstances.  Nevertheless, its tendency to bloom flowers, self-seed, and unfold by means of the backyard through its in depth rhizome root system has resulted in it being labeled as a noxious weed/invasive species by many international locations worldwide.  St. John’s wort left to its personal units might render land non-viable for different crops.  The rhizomes might be troublesome to take away as soon as crops take maintain, so it’s essential to maintain on prime of plant upkeep. Rhizomes can lie dormant within the floor for years earlier than making an look. 

It’s not all destructive information! St. John’s wort is definitely managed to cut back the danger of crops turning into invasive.  Merely take away new seedlings as they pop up and earlier than they grow to be established, and prune seed heads when flowers have completed.


There aren’t any persistent backyard pests that have an effect on the expansion of this plant.


Along with having few pests, Hypericum perforatum is comparatively illness resistant additionally.

Steadily Requested Questions

St Johns wort plant
St. Johns wort plant is a gorgeous, utilitarian plant. Supply: ianpreston

Q: Is the plant St. John’s wort toxic?

A: Widespread St. John’s wort flower is used as a dietary complement for the remedy of hysteria issues. Nevertheless, it’s important {that a} medical physician is consulted earlier than the consumption of natural medicines.  Misuse and unwanted effects embody diarrhea, dizziness, and pores and skin issues, and it could intervene with the motion of different medicines.  

The St. John’s wort plant comprises a toxin known as hypericin which might be harmful and, in some instances, deadly to canines, goats, horses, and sheep.  Signs embody weight reduction, photosensitized pores and skin irritations, and customarily poor well being.

Q: Is St. Johns wort straightforward to develop?

A: As soon as established, St. John’s wort may be very straightforward to develop. It spreads through berries that develop after every flower fades.

Q: Is St. John’s wort a perennial?

A: The St. John’s wort plant is a deciduous perennial herb shrub, which means it loses it leaves in fall/winter to regrow in spring.

Q: Is St. John’s wort the identical as basil?

A: Candy basil is usually known as St. John’s wort in a number of English-speaking international locations, though not within the US. Nevertheless, the 2 crops originate from fully completely different households.  Candy basil is a extremely fragrant leafy annual herb from the mint household, Lamiaceae, and customary St. John’s wort is a perennial shrub from the household Hypericaceae.

Q: What occurs if a canine eats St. John’s wort?

A: Canines could also be prescribed St. John’s wort natural cures for the remedy of hysteria or separation dysfunction which must be managed by your canine’s veterinarian.  A canine that has by accident ingested the vegetative St. John’s wort plant might grow to be unwell and develop photosensitized pores and skin irritations.  Search medical recommendation in case you have any issues.

Q: Is St. John’s wort evergreen?

A: Widespread St. John’s wort, Hypericum perforatum, is a deciduous shrub, shedding its leaves in fall/winter.  There are many decorative cultivars of St. John’s wort which can be evergreen, reminiscent of Hypericum frondosum ‘Sunburst’, which has engaging winter berries in addition to evergreen foliage.

Q: Does St. John’s wort have berries?

A: Widespread St. John’s wort, Hypericum perforatum, produces small deep pink oval berries after flowering.

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