Semi-evergreen perennial plant, native to Europe and Asia; develops long creeping or prostrate branches, which widen considerably, giving rise to large compact carpets, only 25-35 cm high; the thin stems, of brown color, are covered by long opposite oval leaves, dark green on the upper side, lighter and whitish on the lower side; may become reddish in the fall. From late spring to the early autumn colds, it produces large golden-yellow, star-shaped flowers with striking yellow stamens. St. John's wort is a very widespread plant in Europe, where it can often be found in the semi-wild state; in the gardens we can also find H. moserianum, very similar to the previous one, and also a widespread hybrid, H. hydcote, with shrubby growth, which can reach 40-50 cm in height. Over time it tends to become a pest, therefore it is advisable to limit its growth, even with drastic pruning, in autumn.
The genus Hypericum is very vast. It is mainly composed of herbaceous species, many of which are endemic to our country. The most common ones have few advantages as ornamental plants, since they have a rather disordered growth and small flowers. The perforatum (which is encountered very easily in the meadows and along the roads) is however held in great consideration since the Middle Ages for its medicinal virtues which, at present, are under consideration by the scientific community.
The floriculturists, however, have selected about twenty species, bushy and suitable for the European climate, which produce flowers, always yellow, very showy.
They are generally evergreen plants and, after flowering, produce conical shaped fruits. The different species vary greatly from one another both in foliage and in growth habit. They also find different uses: as a ground cover with fast development and great adaptability, or as subjects suitable for flowerbeds, borders, rock or natural gardens.
The origin of these selected species is very vast: Asia Minor, Himalaya and Central America
|Family and gender|
Clusiaceae, gen. hypericum
|Type of plant||Herbs or shrubs, deciduous or persistent foliage|
|Rusticitа||From full sun to shade|
|Ground||Any, but well drained|
|irrigation||In the event of prolonged drought|
|fertilization||In spring with granular for flowering plants|
|colors||Yellow flowers, red or black berries|
|flowering||From summer to autumn, depending on the species|
I prefer sunny or even partially shady locations; often hypericum is used to colonize completely shaded places, where it develops without problems, producing however very few flowers. It does not fear the cold, but in the case of very cold winters it can completely lose its leaves, and it can also happen that the entire aerial part dries up; in any case, with the arrival of spring a new carpet of leaves develops, very quickly. In places with very hot summers it is advisable to place the plant in a semi-shaded position.
The hypericum tolerates thirst quite well, and in general it can survive by being satisfied with the rains; in the case of long dry periods, during spring and summer, it is advisable to water the plants, avoiding excesses, waiting for the soil to dry perfectly between one watering and another. At the end of winter enrich the soil around the plants using mature organic fertilizer or slow release mineral fertilizer.
Virtually all species are rustic and are suitable for all Italian regions. Some can also be inserted in mountain gardens, above 1000 meters.
Persistent leaf varieties can be mulched (especially where winters are harsh) to help them pass the season unharmed.
It occurs by dividing the clumps, by semi-woody cutting, or by removing from the mother plant the new plants that develop at the end of the vigorous stolons.
New seedlings can be obtained either by seed or by cutting.
For seed one must proceed in the greenhouse, at the beginning of spring. Germination is rather fast, but, especially for evergreen species, flowering will not occur for at least three years.
The cutting is carried out from summer to autumn. Portions of semi-mature branch are taken and placed in a very light compost and always kept slightly moist in the shade. It is covered with a plastic film.
The layering or offshoot is also very practical, to be used in autumn. In particular, the second is easy to make for species with long stems and for ground covers. It is sufficient to make small cuts on the stem and bury it right in correspondence with them. In the spring, generally, the emission of new roots has already taken place and the new plant can be separated.
The division should preferably be carried out in the autumn.
Land and exposure
The hypericum has no particular needs in terms of soil. It adapts to all soils, as long as they are well drained.
To have excellent results both of growth and flowering it is necessary to position it in full sun. In any case, almost all of them also tolerate the partial shade well. Some species (in particular the calycinum, the androsaemus and the hidcote cultivar) manage to thrive rather well even in the shade.
They can develop without problems in any soil, even in the common garden soil, provided it is fairly drained; they also grow in sandy places and poor in organic matter.
Parasites and Diseases
It may happen that St. John's Wort is struck by powdery mildew or rust, these plants are hardly attacked by insects.
They are very resistant plants, however, especially in areas where environmental humidity is very high and shady exposure, rust attacks can occur.
To prevent it it is important to irrigate in moderation and always keep the plant clean from weeds (which are often carriers of this cryptogam).
Should it still appear, we will have to eliminate all the affected parts and regularly distribute a healing and eradicating product.
The seedlings purchased can be planted in the fall or spring. This last option is preferable if you live in areas with rather harsh winters.
If the soil is very compact, it will be important to extract it and incorporate a good quantity of water in it, to favor the drainage of the water.
Depending on the adult size, the plants will be spaced from 40 cm to 1 meter. Let us know at the retailer or read the label directions carefully.
Hypericums do not require special care.
We will intervene to irrigate only in the event of prolonged drought, when we realize that the soil is dry in depth. The interventions, clearly, will have to be more frequent in the southern regions and along the coasts.
If they grow in pots, instead, we will have to intervene, during the vegetative period, with a certain frequency. We always make sure of the state of the ground by inserting a finger in depth and we intervene when it begins to be very dry. We always avoid the use of saucers.
Caducous species should be treated as lively. They must therefore be pruned at ground level when spring arrives, so that the vegetation is completely renewed. This will benefit the flowering, since it occurs on the vintage jets.
The evergreen species, on the other hand, should be slightly shortened after the end of flowering. This, in fact, happens on the jets issued the previous year.
We try however to keep them always compact and well balanced.
Species and varieties
Hypericum androsaeum evergreen shrub that can reach 90 cm in height. Originally from Europe, in shady and damp habitats. It is a bushy and vigorous species. It is a plant appreciated mainly for the beauty of its leaves, up to 10 cm long and 5 wide. It produces pretty black-purple fruits.
Hypericum olympicum widespread throughout southern Europe. It is a semi-spicy species with deciduous and dwarf growth habit. Appreciated for the flowers, in terminal bunches, large and of a beautiful bright yellow. It reaches about 30 cm in height.
Hypericum calcinatum coming from Asia, but today it is found in the spontaneous state also in our country. It is a low shrub, about 40 cm high, evergreen. It forms side branches that tend to expand, but also erect branches. The leaves are opposite, whole, bright green, leathery. On top of the stems appear large solitary flowers, 10 cm in diameter, bright yellow. At the center of the flower there is a very evident tuft of stamens, very decorative. It is a plant very commonly used as a ground cover because it combines a long flowering period with evergreen leaves. Moreover it is particularly resistant, without requiring maintenance.
Hypericum leschenautii originally from Java, it can reach 3 meters in height and has a persistent leaf (in mild climates). It can be used as a large shrub, but also as a climber. It has long and flexible branches, the flowers are intense yellow, 10 cm in diameter. Quite rustic, but in the North it needs a thick mulch
Hypericum patulum endemic to Japan, China and India. The average height is 50 cm, although in places of origin it may exceed 2 meters. It has deciduous, ovate, dark green leaves with blue reflections. The flowers are golden yellow. The species is not very rustic, but cultivars rather resistant to cold, such as the henry, have been selected. The forrestii, on the other hand, has very interesting leaves due to the reddish tinge they take with the approach of autumn.
Hypericum reptans comes from the Himalayan area. Very suitable as a ground cover (maximum 5 cm in height) Form beautiful evergreen cushions. It carries solitary flowers of about 3 cm of diameter, yellow access. Very suitable for rock gardens or for walls.
Flowers and leaves
About 5 cm
Ground cover or decombente
Excellent in the rock garden
Pale yellow flowers in the summer
Deciduous, gray-glaucous foliage
Small flowers from June to August
Evergreen, small, olive-green foliage
Suitable for rock garden
Yellow flowers, small, between June and July
Suitable for rock garden
Very large yellow flowers, from June until mid-autumn
Glossy and leathery foliage
Up to 40 cm
It expands rapidly.
Its deep roots make it suitable for the consolidation of slopes
Hypericum polyphyllum 'Grandiflorum
Bright yellow flowers, from May to July
Small evergreen foliage
Hypericum x moserianum 'Tricolor'
From July to September
Leaves with cream, pink and light green spots
Hypericum patulum 'Hidcote'
From June to October
Persistent foliage (with mild climate)
Up to 1 meter
Hypericum x inodorum
From July to November
Deciduous and aromatic foliage.
It produces beautiful red berries.
Up to 1 meter
Robust and floriferous
From June to September.
It produces red and then black fruits
Up to 70 cm
From June to September
Beautiful glaucous foliage
Flowers with long decorative stamens
Up to 1 meter
Rounded and very dense
Hypericum 'Golden Beacon'®
Yellow flowers in June July
Persistent foliage with acid yellow sprays
Red berries in autumn
Hypericum kalmianum 'Blue Velvet' ®
Yellow flowers July-September
Persistent glaucous foliage
Hypericum - Hypericum: History and curiosity
Its name derives from the Greek Hyperikon which means "under the statues, Perforatum, instead, refers to the
multiple perforations on the leaves. In Italy it is also called St. John's Wort.
This plant was already used in ancient Greece as a medicinal plant, especially for the production of healing ointments. They also made potions to be used orally, both as a painkiller and for mood problems (anxiety, premenstrual syndrome).
Other virtues were also attributed to her, such as that of warding off evil spirits.
Today it is used for the treatment of light depressions.
The hypericum plant is native to Asia but grows well even in our latitudes. Develops branching lengths
The Hypericum also known as Hypericum perforatum L., is an evergreen and perennial plant, belonging to the
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