Saint John’s Wort

img 1560 229x300 Saint John’s WortExhibit “A”  as to why you should never discount a plant with the word ‘wort’ in it; this is St. John’s Wort. 

 

St. John’s Wort is a great accent plant for your garden beds and containers, and it’s one of the least known plants of most gardeners today. The family Hypericum contains both flowering shrubs, and a vine form in many different types and colors. The shrubs range in height from 1-10 feet in height when fully grown, while the vine’s low growing habit makes it ideal for erosion control on hillside gardens.  Grown best in zones 4-8, the shrubs and vines do well in partial shade to full sun, but bloom most prolifically in full sun.  These plants are drought tolerant, with 3 inch wide blooms covering them from June through August.  St. John’s Wort is a natural choice for gardens with poor or rocky soil, so it is a great plant to have on hand if you have large areas that need perennials but you don’t have the inclination to create endless formal beds with all the topsoil and mulch that those require.

 

My favorite use of St. John’s Wort is in tree rings, or as a mass groundcover.  It’s spreading habit can be best appreciated when it is planted in large groups in a location where it won’t take over the entire flower garden.  As a tough perennial, this plant falls on my “Full Sun, Bullet-Proof” plant list, and once it is established you can keep it fresh by mowing over it every few years to keep it flowering and fresh.

 

Due to its hearty nature St. John’s wort is a plant that should be introduced only in garden areas where its growth habits can be managed.  The USDA lists these plants as a potentially invasive in the wild, so care should be taken to keep it out of naturalized area for the benefit of local wildlife, and the native ecosystem.

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