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Hypericum spp. St. John's Wort1

Edward F. Gilman 2

Introduction

This low growing plant can be used on dry sites (Fig. 1). The main ornamental trait is the three inch yellow flowers that contrast with the dark green foliage. The plant can grow a foot tall and can spread 1 ½ feet. There may be some topkill in winter in cold climate.

Figure 1. St. John's wort.
Figure 1.  St. John's wort.

General Information

Scientific name: Hypericum spp.
Pronunciation: hye-PAIR-rick-um species
Common name(s): St. John's wort
Family: Hypericaceae
Plant type: ground cover
USDA hardiness zones: 5B through 10A (Fig. 2)
Planting month for zone 7: year round
Planting month for zone 8: year round
Planting month for zone 9: year round
Planting month for zone 10 and 11: year round
Origin: native to Florida
Uses: foundation; border; mass planting; edging
Availablity: somewhat available, may have to go out of the region to find the plant
Figure 2. Shaded area represents potential planting range.
Figure 2.  Shaded area represents potential planting range.

Description

Height: 1 to 4 feet
Spread: 1 to 2 feet
Plant habit: spreading
Plant density: moderate
Growth rate: moderate
Texture: medium

Foliage

Leaf arrangement: opposite/subopposite
Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: entire
Leaf shape: oblanceolate
Leaf venation: pinnate
Leaf type and persistence: deciduous
Leaf blade length: less than 2 inches
Leaf color: green
Fall color: no fall color change
Fall characteristic: not showy

Flower

Flower color: yellow
Flower characteristic: summer flowering

Fruit

Fruit shape: irregular
Fruit length: less than .5 inch
Fruit cover: dry or hard
Fruit color: brown
Fruit characteristic: showy

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: not particularly showy; typically multitrunked or clumping stems
Current year stem/twig color: brown
Current year stem/twig thickness: very thick

Culture

Light requirement: plant grows in part shade/part sun
Soil tolerances: sand; occasionally wet; acidic; slightly alkaline; loam; clay
Drought tolerance: moderate
Soil salt tolerances: poor
Plant spacing: 24 to 36 inches

Other

Roots: not applicable
Winter interest: no special winter interest
Outstanding plant: plant has outstanding ornamental features and could be planted more
Invasive potential: not known to be invasive
Pest resistance: long-term health usually not affected by pests

Footnotes

1. This document is FPS-261, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date October 1999. Reviewed February 2014. Visit the EDIS website at https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.
2. Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

Publication #FPS-261

Date: 5/27/2015

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      Contacts

      • Gail Hansen de Chapman