Photo of Hypericum prolificum

Hypericum prolificum

Shrubby St. John's Wort

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Clusters of bright yellow flowers attract pollen-seeking bees, June-August.

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Shrubby St. John’s Wort is a small, rounded, multi-branched shrub adorned with clusters of 3-7 bright yellow flowers that bloom June-August. The fruit is a dry capsule that persists until the following spring. Blue-green fine-textured foliage turns yellow-green in fall. The leaves contain the toxic chemical hypericin, which deters deer browse. As the shrub matures, the older woody stems turn an attractive reddish-brown color and begin to exfoliate, offering interest in the winter garden. Native to dry meadows, fields, rocky bluffs, and rocky stream banks, Shrubby St. John’s Wort tolerates a range of soil textures, soil moisture, and soil pH. It tolerates drought, as well as flooding. This easy-to-grow, low maintenance shrub can be planted as a deciduous hedge, as a specimen plant in rain gardens, or for erosion control. It thrives in full sun or part shade, and is visited by a variety of pollinators. The flowers bloom on new growth, so prune in early spring before the buds are formed. Companion plants include Aster oblongifolius, Monarda fistulosa, or Rudbeckia hirta. 

Wildlife Value: The flowers do not produce nectar, but are visited by pollen-seeking bumble bees, halictid bees and syrphid flies. It is a host plant for caterpillars of Gray Hairstreak butterflies and a variety of moths.

Plant Details:

Plant Type: Shrub

New Jersey Native: Yes

Bloom Times: Summer

Bloom Colors: Yellow

Deer Resistance: High

Attracts Pollinators and Wildlife: Bees and Other Pollinators, Butterflies

Salt Tolerance: Medium

Hardiness Zone: 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b

Physiographic Region: Ridge & Valley - RV, Piedmont - P, Highland - H

Soil Characteristics

Soil Type: Loam, Organic, Sandy, Clay

Soil Moisture: Dry, Moist

Soil pH: Slightly Acidic, Neutral, Slightly Alkaline, Alkaline

Light Needs of Plant

Optimal Light: Full Sun

Light Range: Full Sun, Partial Shade

Water Needs of Plant

Soil Moisture: Dry, Moist

Drought Tolerance: High

Size and Growth Rate

Height: 1 - 5 ft

Spread: 1 - 4 ft

Growth Rate: Slow-medium