St. Johns Wort Plant: Rising Satan’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 vibrant yellow flowers convey cheeriness to a shady nook.  St. John’s wort could also be one of the adaptive crops you’ll come throughout in horticulture, rising nicely in most sorts of soil and uncovered places, even tolerating drought situations.  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 develop into 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 identify Hypericum comes from the Greek hyper that means above and eikon that 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 had been positioned above photographs of the saint to assist keep off evil spirits and even demise 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 purple 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 average despair, and nerve ache. Nonetheless, as with all conventional medicines, it’s best to seek the advice of a health care provider earlier than use.

Fast Care Information

Pretty St. Johns flower
The flowers that St. Johns wort produces are fairly. Supply: outdoorPDK
Frequent Title Frequent 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 surprise plant, penny John, Klamath weed, rosin rose and goat weed
Scientific Title Hypericum perforatum
Household Hypericaceae
Top & 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 identify for St. John’s wort is Hypericum perforatum.  The widespread names along with ‘St. John’s wort’ are intensive and replicate the folklore traditions of this plant.  They embody widespread St. John’s wort, perforate St John’s-wort, herb John, satan chaser, satan’s flight, satan’s scourge, God’s surprise plant, penny John, Klamath weed, rosin rose, and goat weed.

There are over 400 styles 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 top and round 1.5ft (50cm) throughout. 

Vegetation have purple/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 include small, grooved darkish purple berries or seed capsules containing tiny brown/black seeds.  

Though St. John’s wort is a comparatively small shrub, it might develop intensive rhizomatic root programs that are tough to take away from the backyard as soon as established.  Vegetation additionally self-seed, including to upkeep points – which is why in some international locations, the crops are categorised 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 threat of frost has handed.  As totally hardy shrubs, mature St. John’s wort crops could be planted at any time of the 12 months besides when the bottom is frozen. 

To assist crops set up shortly and to scale 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 nearly any location and soil sort within the backyard however carry out finest in full solar to partial shade in fertile, well-drained soil.  Vegetation will do nicely in containers with a number of good high quality compost added however might have to be watered extra often.  St. John’s wort makes beautiful shrub borders and works nicely in wildlife and naturalistic rock gardens, alongside pathways, and in shaded spots the place most different crops gained’t thrive. The added bonus of its deer-resistant nature means they’re seldom severely broken. You may develop St. John’s Wort nearly wherever. 

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

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

Hypericum Perforatum Care

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

St. John’s wort is a low-maintenance, extraordinarily adaptable plant to develop in your individual backyard.  As soon as established, it requires little or no aftercare, though a watchful eye is critical 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/sizzling climates through the hottest time of day and develop in full solar in northern/cooler climates.  Typically, St. John’s wort tolerates each full solar and nearly full shade. Nonetheless, plant well being will start to deteriorate when each 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 may perennialize.  Vegetation will profit from winter mulch, particularly if grown in moist soil.

Water and Humidity

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


St. John’s wort will adapt to all backyard soil varieties, sand, silty, clay, loam, acidic or alkaline, and even poor soil and compacted floor, however just like the plant prefers finest in wealthy, well-drained soils with common moisture content material. If you wish to adapt a lighter soil sort, 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 widespread identify ‘rosin rose’. Supply: pstenzel71

A great natural mulch in fall and/or spring is sufficient to maintain 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 way of fall. 


It isn’t essential to prune while you develop St. John’s wort crops except they develop into untidy and want 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 guaranteeing the Hypericum shrubs nonetheless flower in June.


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

Seeds may also be sown straight outdoors as soon as all threat of frost has handed.  Sow seeds right into a drill ready with a number of recent compost, urgent them gently to make good contact with the soil and water nicely.  No have to cowl as mild publicity helps with germination, which might take 10 to twenty days.  Skinny seedlings to 1ft (30cms). Hypericum seeds may also be sown in fall for transplanting the next spring.

Take softwood cuttings from new, non-flower development in July/August.  Minimize 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 chopping 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 may also be propagated by division in spring or fall.  Fastidiously 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 places or right into a pot as quickly as doable and water nicely till established.


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

St. John’s wort takes care of itself, typically too nicely, which is when it might develop into an issue.  On a constructive notice, Hypericum crops are hardly ever 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 a terrific shrub to develop in tough soils and situations.  Nonetheless, its tendency to bloom flowers, self-seed, and unfold by way of the backyard through its intensive rhizome root system has resulted in it being categorised as a noxious weed/invasive species by many international locations worldwide.  St. John’s wort left to its personal gadgets might render land non-viable for different crops.  The rhizomes could be tough to take away as soon as crops take maintain, so it’s necessary 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 adverse information! St. John’s wort is definitely managed to scale back the danger of crops changing into invasive.  Merely take away new seedlings as they pop up and earlier than they develop into 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.

Incessantly Requested Questions

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

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

A: Frequent St. John’s wort flower is used as a dietary complement for the therapy of hysteria problems. Nonetheless, it will be significant {that a} medical physician is consulted earlier than the consumption of natural medicines.  Misuse and unwanted effects embody diarrhea, dizziness, and pores and skin problems, and it might intervene with the motion of different medicines.  

The St. John’s wort plant incorporates a toxin known as hypericin which could be harmful and, in some instances, deadly to canine, 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 could 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, that 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. Nonetheless, the 2 crops originate from fully totally 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 treatments for the therapy of hysteria or separation dysfunction which must be managed by your canine’s veterinarian.  A canine that has by chance ingested the vegetative St. John’s wort plant might develop into unwell and develop photosensitized pores and skin irritations.  Search medical recommendation in case you have any considerations.

Q: Is St. John’s wort evergreen?

A: Frequent 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 might be evergreen, similar to Hypericum frondosum ‘Sunburst’, which has engaging winter berries in addition to evergreen foliage.

Q: Does St. John’s wort have berries?

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

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