How To Grow & Care For St. John’s Wort

St. John’s Wort is a fascinating plant, both for its beauty and its medicinal properties. Recognizable by its bright yellow flowers and shrubby growth, St. John’s Wort has been used for centuries in traditional medicine, particularly in European cultures. It has been employed to treat depression, anxiety, wounds, and various other ailments.

The name “St. John’s Wort” comes from its flowering around St. John the Baptist’s birthday, June 24th. The plant’s association with light and brightness doesn’t end there. The bright yellow flowers are known to have translucent dots, giving them a unique and almost magical appearance.

Though primarily known for its medicinal uses, St. John’s Wort is also a valuable addition to gardens and landscapes. Its attractive flowers and resilient nature make it a practical choice for both ornamental and functional purposes. Growing St. John’s Wort in a home garden can be a rewarding experience with the right care and attention.

Common NamesSt. John’s Wort, Goatweed, Hypericum
Botanical NameHypericum perforatum
Plant TypePerennial Herb
Mature SizeUp to 1-3 feet in height
Sun ExposureFull sun to partial shade
Soil TypeWell-drained soil
Hardiness Zones5-9
Native AreaEurope, Western Asia, North Africa

St. John’s Wort Care

Growing St. John’s Wort is relatively straightforward, and the plant is adaptable to various conditions. It’s a perennial herb that can be a lovely addition to borders, rock gardens, or as a ground cover.

Care involves regular watering, appropriate sunlight, and controlling pests and diseases. Understanding the specific needs of St. John’s Wort can lead to a thriving plant that will provide beautiful blooms and potential medicinal benefits.

Light Requirement for St. John’s Wort

St. John’s Wort prefers full sun but can tolerate partial shade. The sunlight helps produce the bright yellow flowers that the plant is famous for. A spot with at least 6-8 hours of sunlight daily is ideal.

Soil Requirements for St. John’s Wort

This herb grows well in well-drained soil with a pH ranging from slightly acidic to slightly alkaline. It can adapt to various soil types, including sandy or rocky soil, making it an excellent choice for different garden environments.

Water Requirements for St. John’s Wort

While St. John’s Wort can tolerate drought to some extent, regular watering will keep it looking its best. The soil should be kept moist but not soggy. In particularly dry climates, additional watering may be necessary.

Temperature and Humidity

St. John’s Wort prefers moderate temperatures and can grow in hardiness zones 5-9. It does not require high humidity and can withstand some dry conditions, making it adaptable to various climates.


A general-purpose fertilizer applied in the spring can provide St. John’s Wort with the necessary nutrients for growth. Avoid over-fertilizing, as this can lead to fewer flowers and weaker plant growth.

Pruning St. John’s Wort

Pruning in early spring can help shape the plant and encourage bushier growth. Deadheading spent flowers will promote further blooming. Severe pruning in late winter can rejuvenate older plants.

Propagating St. John’s Wort

St. John’s Wort can be propagated through seeds, cuttings, or division. The division is usually the easiest method, and plants can be divided in the spring or fall.

How To Grow St. John’s Wort From Seed

Growing St. John’s Wort from seed can be achieved by sowing seeds in the spring or fall. Seeds should be lightly covered with soil and kept moist until germination. Transplanting seedlings can be done once they are large enough to handle.

Common Pests & Plant Diseases


Small insects that suck the plant’s sap. Treat with insecticidal soap or neem oil.


A fungal disease that causes orange spots on leaves. Removing affected parts and applying fungicide can help.

Common Problems With St. John’s Wort


Can occur with too little sunlight. Ensure adequate sun exposure.

Poor Flowering

Might be due to over-fertilization or too much shade. Adjust care as needed.

Pro Tips

  1. Plant St. John’s Wort near paths or patios to enjoy its pleasant fragrance.
  2. Be mindful of its potential to spread, as it can become invasive in some areas.
  3. Utilize St. John’s Wort’s medicinal properties by creating herbal remedies, but consult a professional if using it for health purposes.
  4. Consider companion planting with plants that have similar water and sun needs.
  5. Protect from severe winter conditions in colder zones by adding mulch.