Otherwise Known As St. John's Wort

The Hypericum goes by the more common name of St. John’s Wort and is part of a genus that has approximately 400 different species. The Hypericum is found all over the world and has other monikers like tipton weed or goat weed. It is identified by its oval-shaped leaves and yellow flower, which also has black pin spots. Considered to be a self-seeding shrub, it is a perennial herbaceous plant that blooms, starting in early spring and that can grow up to three feet high. Its reddish-brown fruit tends to ripen in September, thriving in zones 4 through 8.

The Hypericum flower has berries used in the florist trade, which are usually red, green, yellow, peach, orange or pink. For example, the green Hypericum berry is found in bouquets and seasonal arrangements. These berries are commonly used because they do not stain and also blend well with a wide array of flowers, such as roses, carnations, and calla lilies. Recently, it was a centerpiece in presentation bouquets at the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. Besides looking pretty, Hypericum has been used to treat many ailments, including wounds, depression, and even evil spirits. It is also used to treat headaches, sleep problems, and stomach pains. While widely used today, it has been praised for its medicinal properties back to the days of Hippocrates who wrote about how Hypericum could help with hip pain. It was even made into a wine used by Civil War soldiers.

Growing Recommendations - Hypericum

Hypericum grows well from seed sown in sunny, well-drained soil that has a pH between 5.5 and 7. If the soil has a pH below 5.5, you can add lime, or, if the pH is above 7, peat moss helps to improve the pH balance. The seeds should be scattered over the soil and then covered with a light layer of soil. The soil should remain moist, but not overly wet as this could cause rotting, during the germination period of three weeks to three months. The weakest Hypericum seedlings should be removed as should any weeds that spring up. Try to leave about 15 inches between the Hypericum plants. The Hypericum thrive on regular fertilizer feedings about once a month. A good way to keep them warm through winter is to add a three to four-inch layer of bark mulch, which can also help with drainage and discourage weeds over the course of the spring and summer seasons. Once the Hypericum has berries, keep the cut berries away from direct heat or sunlight. It is best to re-cut the stems on a diagonal ever few days. The leaves often wilt fast, so it is best to just simply remove them. Only use fresh water.

Photos of Hypericum

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