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Hypericum perforatum, St John's Wort
• Hardiness: H6 (-15 to -20C)
• Type: Semi Evergreen Perennial
• Height: 30-90cm
• Spread: 30cm
• Soil type: Chalk, Clay, Sand, Loam
• pH: Universal pH
• Habit: Upright
• Flowering colour: Yellow
• Flowering time: Summer
• Uses: Medicinal (Read Jekka's Guide To Medicinal Herbs for more information)
• Attracts pollinators: Yes (Read Jekka's Guide to Pollinators for more information)
• Container suitability: Yes
• UK native: Yes
• Caution: Can occasionally make skin sensitive to light when taken medicinally. Poisonous to liverstock.
• Indoor Sowing: In late spring, into prepared plug trays or pots, do not cover. Put in a cold frame.
• Outdoor Sowing: In early summer, into a well-drained soil with a sunny situation. Thin to 20cm apart.
• Maintenance: (See Jekka's Blogs on Early Spring, Late Spring, Summer and Autumn maintenance)
• Harvest: N/A
St. Johns Wort is probably best known for its use in mild to moderate depression. However, it has other helpful attributes. Traditionally it has been used by herbalists to ease nerve conditions such as neuralgia, sciatica, cold sores and anxiety, particularly that associated with the menopause. Infusing the flowers in oil creates a deep red coloured oil that is used for its vulnery (healing) qualities, for example in wounds, bruises and shingles. It has a long history of use and was named ‘Hypericum’ by the 1st century Greek physician, Dioscorides. The name translates as ‘over an apparition’, a reference to its presumed ability to enable exorcism.
Caution: St Johns Wort should be avoided when taking certain pharmaceutical medicines. These include anti-coagulants, calcium channel blockers, chemotherapy, digoxin, finasteride, HIV medication and immunosuppressants. It may also be wise to avoid taking this herb alongside oral contraceptives as it may increase the body’s metabolism of the drug making its contraceptive action less effective, but the clinical evidence to support this is contradictory. This herb can also cause photosensitivity so should be avoided by anyone with this tendency or who may be taking photo-sensitising medication.
Please note: The information provided here is for educational interest only and is not intended to be used to diagnose or treat significant health problems. Any serious or long-term health concerns should always be discussed with a healthcare professional.
See our blog for more information about the National Institute of Medical Herbalists
Jekka's "How to Grow Herbs" videos, includes Jekka's video on how to sow herb seeds for an informative step-by-step guide to seed sowing. For a hands-on herb experience, where you will learn how to grow herbs, check out our Master Classes.
Growing indoors? Check out Jekka's blog on indoor herb gardening for some advice.
For seeds, try Jekka's Seed Club Subscription to regularly receive different sustainable culinary herb seeds for you to try. If you require pots or compost, see Jekka's Herb Kits that includes Jekka's Seed Sowing Kit. This kit contains all you need to sow a collection of herb seeds.
At Jekka’s we sell herbs in 1 Ltr and 2 Ltr pots. These are established and hardy herb plants that are grown following organic principals and to survive the UK climate. Please read Jekka's blog that contains her top steps to growing on your herbs.
There is also ‘Jekka’s Seasonal Tips’ series that covers growing and maintaining herbs in early spring, late spring, summer and autumn & winter. Together they form Jekka’s guide on how to grow herbs. For a hands-on herb experience, where you will learn how to grow herbs, check out our Master Classes.
Our herbs are designed to be grown in containers or planted in the garden. Although some herbs will be quite happy indoors, most prefer being outside. Please see our indoor growing blog for more information.
If you think your herbs need a little more attention we always recommend an environmentally friendly solution, and these are Jekka's top three:
- Maxicrop liquid seaweed: 'Feed on Fridays' as Jekka always says for all round good plant health.
- SB Invigorator: a safe and effective insecticide and fungicide to help control a wide range of pest species
- Epsom salts: the horticultural equivalent of what you put in your bath that will top up the plant's magnesium and stop orange leaves.
Please note, the compost in Jekka's Kits will have enough natural food for approximately 6 weeks.
One of our three core roots is that we are Environmentally Conscious and for the past 30 years all the herbs grown at Jekka’s have been raised following sustainable, environmentally friendly and organic approaches resulting in a remarkable biodiversity at the herb farm.
Our herb seeds are also untreated and can be used to grow organic herb plants. Our seeds are hand packed into gassine bags, which are fully recyclable, compostable and biodegradable. These bags are then put into beautifully illustrated paper seed packets. Therefore, our environmental footprint is small.
Want to know more? You can read more about our sustainability approach to growing herbs in one of Jekka's Blogs. See also: