St. John's Wort

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St. John's wort - also called Hartheugewächse - is a genus of the family St. John's wort plants (Hypericaceae), to which a total of about 450 species. Most species are annual or perennial herbaceous or woody plants. The smallest St. John's wort is only five centimeters high, as shrubs and shrubs reach some St. John's wort species several meters in height. Johanniskräuter are nearly world-wide; only in deserts, Arctic regions and in the tropical lowlands they do not occur.

Appearance and growth

All St. John's wort species form cup-like flowers, each with five petals, which open in our latitudes usually around the St. John's Day (June 24) - which explains the German name of the genus. The carpet St. John's wort (Hypericum calycinum) are the flowers with about eight centimeters in diameter largest, in the other species, they are smaller, but more numerous. In mild regions, carpet and upholstery St. John's wort remain leafy all year round.

Interesting for gardeners are, in addition to the carpet St. John's wort, especially the dwarf St. John's wort (Hypericum olympicum) and the upright St. John's wort (Hypericum polyphyllum). A well-known variety is the dwarf St. John's wort 'Citrinum' (lemon yellow, about 15 inches high), the upholstery St. John's wort 'Grandiflorum' (bright yellow, 10-20 inches high). A well-established bloomer is also the large-flowered 'Hidcote', a semi-shrub that opens new buds continuously from June to October.

Carpet St. John's wort (Hypericum calycinum)

The carpet St. John's wort (Hypericum calycinum) does not grow higher than 30 centimeters and is a vigorous groundcover

In addition, the lemon St. John's wort (Hypericum hircinum) is still relevant as a fragrant tea plant, which is 50- to 100-centimeters high as a subshrub. Furthermore, the St. John's wort (Hypericum andosaemum 'Orange Flair') is offered, which forms pretty orange-red fruits after flowering.

Also grown in a larger style is the medicinally used Spotted or St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum), which has been used since antiquity as a tea for mild depressive moods. A regular intake should always be done only under medical supervision.

Location and ground

St. John's wort thrives on sunny, carpet St. John's wort also in partially shaded locations. The garden soil should be normally permeable, a neutral pH is optimal. Even light, sandy soils are suitable.


The carpet St. John's wort is a robust and undemanding ground covering, which is suitable for greening of larger areas and slopes as well as underplanting of shrubs and trees. Carpet St. John's wort is often seen on traffic islands or embankments next to highways. It should be planted in larger groups. Suitable planting partners are pops (Astilbe), cranesbill or grasses.

With dwarf and upholstery St. John's wort you can set colorful accents in rock gardens and on dry stone walls, where they are effectively combined with bellflowers, for example. St. John's wort is less suitable for planting tubs.

Popular in floristry is the St. John's wort. It forms inflorescences with red or yellow, berry-like, fleshy capsules, which are bound in autumn bouquets.


The easy to clean St. John's wort is planted in autumn or spring. There is nothing special to note.

To cut

If the shoots of the carpet St. John's wort are unsightly, you simply cut back the plants vigorously. For pruning in spring, you can also use a lawn mower for groundcovering species, where you set the maximum cutting height.

St. John's Wort (Hypericum androsaemum)

The St. John's wort (Hypericum androsaemum) produces decorative orange-red fruits, which are wonderful for autumn floristry

winter protection

In rough conditions and snow-poor winters, the carpet of St. John's wort is covered with brushwood. Other species are planted in the root area in severe winters.


Johannis herbs are relatively undemanding - if occasionally some mature compost is distributed around the plants, that's enough.


Depending on the species, Johannis herbs can be propagated before or after flowering by cuttings or by division. Pure species can also be sowed. Carpet St. John's wort spreads through runners, which can be separated if necessary.

Diseases and pests

St. John's wort is extremely robust and generally less prone. Slug feeding is no problem. Carpet St. John's wort can get rust in the summer, which shows itself through small patches that spread over the whole leaf. The fungus can be fought with fungicides, but usually it is sufficient to cut back affected parts of plants and dispose of the cut remnants on the household waste.Occasionally, aphids occur, but even so the plant can usually live well.

Video Board: 6 Top Benefits of St Johns Wort.

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