Content Detail

Golden St. John’s wort puts on an explosive display of bright yellow flowers in midsummer that lasts three to four weeks. It is an upright to rounded shrub reaching 3 to 4 feet high and wide. It has stiff, upright branching and blue-green narrow foliage that turns reddish-purple in the fall. The exfoliating bark and persistent seed capsules add winter interest to the landscape.

  • Family (English) St John's Wort
  • Family (botanic) Hypericaceae
  • Tree or plant type Shrub
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale North America
  • Size range Low-growing shrub (under 3 feet), Small shrub (3-5 feet)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Alkaline soil, Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, clay soil, Dry sites
  • Season of interest early winter, midwinter, early summer, midsummer
  • Flower color and fragrance Yellow
  • Shape or form Round, Upright
  • Growth rate Moderate

Size and form:

Golden St. John’s wort is an upright to rounded shrub reaching 3 to 4 feet high and wide.

Native geographic location and habitat:

It is native to the southeastern United States west to Texas.

Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife:

This shrub attracts both bees and birds.

Bark color and texture:

It has exfoliating outer reddish-brown bark with a thin bronze color inner bark.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture:

Leaves are oblong, narrow, and linear, about 1 to 1 1/2 inches long, and a blue-green color.

Flower arrangement size and shape:

Golden St. John’s wort produces large five-petaled flowers about 1 1/2 inches across, with dense bushy stamens. The flowers bloom midsummer for three to four weeks.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

It has a reddish-brown narrow fruit capsule that ripens in September and persists into winter.

Plant care:

Golden St. John’s wort grows best in full sun to part shade in moist, well-drained soil. It is drought tolerant once established. Plants may die back to ground in harsh winters, therefore provide them with winter protection. This shrub flowers on new wood and should be pruned in spring.

List of pests and diseases:

Leaf spots can be a problem.

Golden St. John’s wort (Hypericum frondosum ‘Sunburst’):

A 3 to 4 feet high and wide, stiffly branched cultivar with rich yellow flowers. It has blue-green foliage which changes to reddish-brown in the fall.


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