Hypericum Prolificum, Shrubby St. John’s Wort, an Adaptable Native Shrub

Hypericum prolificumVirtues: Hypericum prolificum, or shrubby St. John’s wort, is a flowering shrub that adapts to any soil condition and provides many beautiful yellow flowers that feed bumblebees from midsummer until fall. Deer- and rabbit-resistant, this native plant also hosts several butterfly and moth caterpillars.

Common name: Shrubby St. John’s wort

Botanical name: Hypericum prolificum

Exposure: Full sun to part shade

Season: Midsummer through autumn, for flowers

Flowers: Bright yellow, one-inch-round blossoms open from fat yellow buds from midsummer until fall. Prominent, dense golden stamens give the flowers a fuzzy look while attracting bumblebees and other pollinators. The flowers do not have nectar, so they do not draw adult butterflies; however the foliage feeds butterflies and moths in their larval stage.

Foliage: Medium green, long, narrow leaves line the branches from spring until fall. While the leaves support several kinds of caterpillar, they are not bothered by deer or rabbits, thanks to a chemical that causes discomfort if ingested.

Habit: Shrubby St. John’s wort is a deciduous shrub with a rounded shape 3 to 5 feet tall and wide. The stems stand upright and close together, with the flowers carried at their tips.

Origins: Hypericum prolificum is native to meadows, open woods and slopes of roughly the eastern half of the United States.

How to grow Hypericum prolificum: Site in full sun to partial shade. This native shrub will adapt to any pH and soil type, from fertile loam to sandy soil to heavy clay. It tolerates brief flooding as well as periods of drought. It has a pleasant natural shape but should you wish to prune it, do so in early spring. USDA Zone 4–8.

Image credit: weisschr / iStock / Getty Images

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