A group of herbaceous perennials and evergreen shrubs that are robust and easy-to-grow. Producing an abundant supply of bright yellow flowers from summer through to autumn.

Family: Hypericaceae
Botanical Name: Hypericum
Common Names: St John's wort, Rose of Sharon.

Foliage: Evergreen or deciduous, simple ovate green leaves.

Flowers: Bright yellow, cup-shaped flowers, with prominent stamens in the centre. Usually followed by red or yellow berries.

Flowering Period: Late summer to early autumn.

Soil: Moist but well-drained soil (chalk, clay, sand or loam). Any pH.

Conditions: Full sun or partial shade. Can be grown in a north, south, east or west-facing aspect, in a sheltered or exposed location.

Habit: Bushy, suckering.

Type: Shrub.

Origin: Europe and Asia.

Hardiness: Hardy in most regions of the UK.

Planting and Growing Hypericum

Plant outside in early autumn or spring. Container grown plants can be planted out at any reasonable time of year.

Thrives in any good, well-drained, garden soil. Flowers best in full sun but many varieties will tolerate some light shade.

Good for flower arrangements.

Taking Care of Hypericum

Water thoroughly during dry weather until well established. Mulch with organic matter in spring and apply a general fertilizer suitable for shrubs.

Pruning Hypericum

Cut back larger shrubs by about a third in spring, removing any old or damaged stems.

H. calycinum should be pruned back hard, cutting it down to almost to ground level.

Pests and Diseases

Generally pest and disease free. The leaves can be affected by rust disease.

Propagating Hypericum

Take semi-hardwood heel cuttings of shrubs in summer. Protect under a cold frame until well rooted.

Popular Varieties of Hypericum

Hypericum calycinum (rose of Sharon, Aarons beard) is a low growing semi-evergreen shrub with yellow flowers. Ideal for a dry, shady position. Good ground cover, even in deep shade. Available from Van Meuwen. Available from Gardening Express.

Hypericum 'Gemo' is best known for its medicinal properties. It is a hardy and durable variety that can tolerate both shade, drought and poor soils. Height and spread to 3ft (90cm). Available from Thompson & Morgan.

Hypericum 'Hideote' (St John's Wort) is a medium sized garden shrub bearing large golden flowers, with orange anthers in the centre, from midsummer to late autumn. Height to 5ft (1.5m). Available from Van Meuwen. The cultivar 'Carnival' is an attractive form where the young emerging leaves are tinted pink, eventually turning to dark green, with yellow edging. Available from Thompson & Morgan.

Hypericum kalmianum (Kalm St. John's Wort) is a small semi-evergreen form with showy golden yellow flowers from July through to September. Cultivar 'Blue Velvet' a bushy semi-evergreen with blue-green foliage. Available from Thompson & Morgan. 'Sunny Boulevard' produces yellow blooms that adorn the semi-evergreen foliage in July and August, followed by red fruit. Height and spread to 3ft (90cm). Available from Thompson & Morgan.

Hypericum 'Miracle' is a new range of semi evergreen compact Hypericums with a strong growth and good disease resistance. Producing dark green oblong leaves and an abundance of bright yellow flowers in early and mid summer, followed by masses of colourful berries. The variety 'Blossom' has berries in shades of peach pink and yellow. Available from Gardening Express. 'Red' bears masses of red berries. Available from Gardening Express. 'Sunshine' has cream-yellow berries. Available from Gardening Express.

Hypericum perforatum is an upright species, with small ovate leaves and terminal clusters of star-shaped yellow flowers. Ideal for wild flower gardens. Height to 40in (100cm). Available from Van Meuwen.

Hypericum urulum is an interesting rock garden specimen with grey-green leaves. Height to 18in (45cm).

Hypericum x dummeri 'Peter Dummer' is a rounded bushy form, with golden, saucer-shaped, blooms sporting pretty orange anthers, from July to September. Available from Thompson & Morgan.

Hypericum x hidcoteense 'Hidcote' is a small bushy semi-evergreen shrub, with narrowly ovate dark-green leaves and cheerful yellow cup-shaped flowers from July to October. Height to 4ft (120cm). Available from Gardening Express.

Hypericum x inodorum produces brilliant red or pink fruits along with the golden flowers. The form 'Elstead' has brilliant salmon-red fruits at the same time as the flowers.

Hypericum x moseranum has arching reddish stems that bear yellow flowers with red anthers. The popular form 'Tricolor' is a low-growing variety with variegated pink, white and green leaves - excellent for colourful ground cover. Height to 12in (30cm), spread 24in (60cm). Available from Thompson & Morgan. Cultivar 'Little Mistery' is new form with bright yellow and green variegated leaves, held on red stems. The yellow flowers are followed by pinkish-red fruits. Available from You Garden.