Content Detail

Shrubby St. John’s wort is a low to medium-sized native shrub reaching 3 to 4 feet high. The bright yellow flowers with a profusion of yellow stamens look like fireworks. The exfoliating bark and attractive seed capsules add winter interest to the landscape.

This species is native to the Chicago Region according to Swink and Wilhelm’s Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research.

  • Family (English) Hypericum
  • Family (botanic) Hypericaceae
  • Tree or plant type Shrub
  • Native locale Chicago area, Illinois, North America
  • Size range 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 4, Zone 5 (Chicago), Zone 6, Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, Clay soil, Dry sites, Occasional flooding
  • Season of interest early summer, late summer, midsummer
  • Flower color and fragrance Yellow
  • Shape or form Mounded, Multi-stemmed, Round
  • Growth rate Slow

Size & form: 

A mounded, 3 to 4 feet high and wide shrub with stiff erect stems.

Native geographic location and habitat:

C-Value: 9 Native to the Eastern U. S. including Illinois, Iowa, New Jersey and Georgia.

Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife: 

Birds, butterflies and bees are attracted to the flowers and fruit.

Bark color and texture: 

Young twigs are slender, gray and ridged, older stems exfoliate exposing a bronzy inner bark.

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

Bright green leaves are opposite, linear to lanceolate, 4 inches long and 1/2 inch wide. Very short petioles with leaf-like bracts at the base of the leaves.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size: 

Small, 3/4 to 1-inch wide yellow flowers with many showy stamens, borne in terminal or in stem axil in early summer.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions: 

A 3-chambered, upright, brown capsule that is persistent  throughout winter.

Plant care:

Best in full sun to part shade. Adaptable to most soil pH, including heavy clay. Flowers on new wood, so prune in early spring. Can be short-lived in wet winters.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances: 

None serious. Drought, clay, rabbit and deer resistant, tolerant of aerial salt spray.

Albury Purple Tutsan (Hypericum androsaemum ‘Albury Purple’):

Low mounding, 2 to 3 feet high and wide, rich velvety purple leaf tips, yellow flowers and attractive dark red fruit capsules.

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