FutureStarr

St John's Wort Garden

St John's Wort Garden

St John's Wort Garden

The primary common name (alternate spellings, "St. Johnswort" and "St. John's-wort") refers to the fact that the flowers were traditionally harvested on the Catholic Saint's Day honoring the nativity of St. John the Baptist, June 24. After harvesting the flowers, the believer would hang them over a painting or statue of St. John in the home. This practice was thought to protect the believer from evil spirits. The word, "wort" (most often found as a suffix) is simply Old English for "plant" and is frequently found in common plant names, other examples being:

John's

A landscape workhorse, St. John’s wort is a champion at providing food and shelter to wildlife—especially pollinators—as well as adding blossoms, colorful foliage, and great texture to entry gardens, foundation plantings, perennial beds, and mixed shrub borders. This North American native all-star shrub is easy to grow and a cinch to incorporate into almost any landscape. You’re sure to delight in its sunny yellow flowers in summer and low-maintenance habit year-round. Seldom browsed by deer and rabbits, it is a great plant for landscape plagued by these munching pests.In some climates the tips of St. John's wort branches die back in winter. Simply shear the plants back to live wood in spring and this hardy perennial will regrow. St. John's wort blooms on new growth so winter dieback is not a problem. Prune plants as needed in early spring and they will produce a large crop of flowers in summer. Every three or four years, consider renewal pruning St. John's wort. Renewal pruning involves shearing the plant back to half its height in spring. Renewal pruning encourages dense, vibrant new growth and helps the plant retain a pleasing, rounded form.

f you're looking for a perennial perennial with stunning yellow blooms throughout the seasoWhen I asked gardeners about the pros and cons of St. John’s wort, they gave mixed reviews. Some said that the nonnative species are invasive; some said even the native species are invasive. There even seemed to be confusion about which species are native. After beginning my research, I realized that one reason for the confusion is that there are almost 500 different species of Hypericum, many of which are commonly referred to as St. John’s wort. Plants of the genus Hypericum were apparently gathered and burned to ward off evil spirits on the eve of St. John’s Day, thus giving rise to the genus common name of St. John’s wort. To avoid the confusion of overlapping common names for different species, it is advisable to use the Latin name when identifying Hypericum for purchase.When looking for a low-growing native plant for the forefront of our perennial sun garden, I became interested in St. John’s wort. Many of the sun-loving natives in our garden are tall and tend to become leggy as the growing season progresses. St. John’s wort seemed to be a possible native filler plant that could hide the leafless bottom portion of tall plant stems. (Source: piedmontmastergardeners.org)

 

Related Articles