Grow St. John’s Wort from Seed for a Beautiful and Useful Garden Herb

If youve looked into natural treatments for mild depression, youve probably heard about St. Johns Wort. It’s probably the most common herb used to improve mood and lower anxiety, and in most temperate areas, it’s easy to spot as a wild plant. perfect for treating those lost-in-the-wilderness blues.

St. The pretty yellow flowers and green, ovate leaves of St. John’s wort, which is also called goatweed, chase-devil, Klamath weed, or by its scientific name, Hypericum perforatum, make any herb garden look nice. It does well in sunny, low-water gardens and looks great planted with other shrubby perennial herbs, especially ones whose flowers and leaves are different from this one.

You wont be cooking any meals with St. John’s Wort, but it’s a must-have for low-maintenance gardens and natural medicine professionals who want to grow an important plant for herbal medicine.

Hypericum perforatum is native to Europe, western Asia (including the Himalayas) and northern Africa. Early settlers brought St. Johns wort to the New World in the late 1700s. It quickly spread across the continent and is now considered a noxious weed in some states.

Highly adaptable to various soil types, it thrives in pastures, prairies, woodlands, ditches, and in riparian margins. Its hard to keep a good plant down.

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) is a lovely perennial herb that deserves a spot in both ornamental and medicinal gardens. Its bright yellow flowers bloom around midsummer, lighting up the landscape. This classic cottage garden plant has also been used for centuries as a natural remedy for wounds, inflammation, anxiety, depression, and more.

Growing St. John’s Wort from seed is simple and rewarding. With just a little care you can add this cheery herb to your garden.

Why Grow St. John’s Wort?

There are several great reasons to grow this classic herb

  • Beautiful flowers – St. John’s Wort produces beautiful yellow flowers in midsummer. The five-petaled blooms last for weeks and attract pollinators.

  • Ornamental value – The flowers and green foliage provide nice contrast in perennial beds and borders The plant has an attractive rounded shape

  • Herbal uses – St. John’s Wort can be used to make teas, tinctures, oils, and salves for natural healing. It has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and mood-lifting properties.

  • Low maintenance – This sturdy plant is unfussy and easy to grow. It tolerates drought once established.

  • Attracts bees – The nectar-rich flowers attract bees and other beneficial pollinators to the garden.

  • Deer resistant – Deer and rabbits tend to leave this herb alone, unlike other garden plants.

How to Grow St. John’s Wort from Seed

When to Plant

St. John’s Wort can be started indoors or direct sown outside. Here are planting guidelines for both methods:

  • Indoors – Start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before your last expected frost date. Sow seeds in seed starting mix and grow seedlings under lights or in a sunny window. Harden off plants for 7-10 days before transplanting them outside after danger of frost has passed.

  • Outdoors – Direct sow seeds outdoors in prepared soil after the threat of frost has passed. St. John’s Wort needs warm soil to germinate, so wait until soils have warmed to at least 65°F.

Seed Starting

St. John’s Wort seeds require light to germinate, so they should not be covered with soil. Follow these tips:

  • Use seed starting mix or fine potting soil. Moisten the mix before planting.

  • Gently press seeds into the soil surface. Do not cover them.

  • Maintain consistent moisture while seeds germinate. Don’t let soil dry out completely.

  • Germination takes 10-20 days at 70°F.


  • Harden off seedlings for 7-10 days before transplanting them outside.

  • Space plants 12-18 inches apart in the garden.

  • St. John’s Wort grows 1-4 feet tall and wide. Give it room to spread.

  • Loosen soil and mix in compost before planting. Good drainage is key.

Growing Conditions

  • Sun: Full sun to partial shade

  • Soil: Average, well-draining soil

  • pH: 5.5 to 7.0

  • Water: Drought tolerant once established

  • Zones: Perennial in zones 3-10


St. John’s Wort is easy to care for:

  • Water new plants regularly until their root systems develop. Then water only during drought.

  • Little fertilization is needed in average soil.

  • Cut back spent flower stems to encourage reblooming.

  • Plants have few pests and diseases to watch for.


  • Harvest flower buds in the morning when oils are most potent.

  • Use pruners to clip stems just above the woody base.

  • Dry leaves and flowers for teas, tinctures, oils, and salves.

How to Use St. John’s Wort

All parts of the St. John’s Wort plant can be used medicinally. Here are some of the most common uses:


The leaves and flowers can be dried and made into a tea that is said to help relieve anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Steep 1-2 teaspoons per cup of boiling water for 5-10 minutes. Strain and drink up to 3 times daily.


A tincture of the leaves and flowers in alcohol can be used internally and externally. A typical dosage is 30 drops mixed with water up to 3 times per day. For external use, apply diluted tincture to affected areas.

Infused Oil

Steep leaves and flowers in olive oil for 2-6 weeks, then strain out plant material. The oil helps heal burns, bruises, swelling, and skin irritations when applied topically.


A salve made with St. John’s Wort oil helps soothe cuts, wounds, blisters, and burns. Combine the strained oil with beeswax to make an easy DIY healing salve.

The Many Benefits of Growing St. John’s Wort

With its beautiful yellow blooms and many medicinal uses, St. John’s Wort is a wonderful herb for gardens both ornamental and practical. Growing this helpful plant from seed is easy and rewarding. A little TLC will provide you with years of enjoyment from this classic perennial herb. Add St. John’s Wort to your garden plans this season!

The Cultural History of St. John’s Wort

“Wort” is a traditional designation for “medicinal herb”, and can also refer to plants used for spiritual rites. Hypericum perforatum definitely lives up to both.

People who weren’t very smart used to think that mental illness was caused by the devil or something similar in other cultures, and they would treat their patients with the herb Since St. John’s Wort does raise serotonin levels and “lifts spirits” in more than one way. In early Christian practices, it was used to get rid of demons.

People in Europe who were Catholic celebrated John the Baptist’s birthday by gathering fresh Hypericum perforatum sprigs, which they believed could drive away demons and other demons. In fact, the name Hypericum is a loose translation of “over” and “apparition. ” Perforatum refers to the tiny impressions on the plants leaves and petals.

As with many Christian traditions, St. Johns Day co-opted pagan rites as a means of aiding acceptance of the new religion. People in Europe and the Mediterranean have used Hypericum perforatum for thousands of years to ward off evil spirits and bad luck. St. Since the summer solstice is the longest day of the year and John is linked to light, it’s not a surprise that June 24 was chosen as his feast day.

Well get into other interesting connections between St. Johns wort and its namesake further on when we get down-and-dirty with the plants description.

How to Use St. John’s Wort

Air-drying sprigs in a warm, well-ventilated room allows you to preserve the leaves for use in teas.

High-proof vodka can be used to make a tincture at home. Crushed leaves and flowers should be left to soak for a few weeks. Strain out the leaves and store the fluid in a light-resistant dropper bottle.

Put olive oil, crushed flowers and leaves, and more in a jar. Leave it alone for two or three weeks. The hypericin will turn the oil a funky reddish color. Homemade St. Johns wort oil works best when applied directly to the skin. It has been used to heal and disinfect wounds and ease earaches when used in a dropper.

St. Johns wort isnt recommended for patients taking mood-regulating prescription medication, and the plants oils—present on the surfaces of its leaves and petals—may cause photodermatitis, a.k.a. light sensitivity and rashes, in livestock, pets, and people. (Get coats for your goats).

These are the two main red flags for St. St. John’s Wort users, but it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor and a natural medicine expert before taking St. Johns wort.

St. John’s Wort – Hypericum – Growing St Johns wort


Is St. John’s Wort easy to grow from seed?

St. John’s wort is an easy-to-grow shrub known for its beautiful yellow flowers and healing properties. In the world of medicinal herb gardening, the cultivation of healing plants becomes a therapeutic journey in itself.

Is St John’s wort hard to grow?

All St John’s worts are easy to grow and tolerant of a wider range of conditions, including temporary flooding. However, during prolonged periods of drought they will benefit from supplementary watering, particularly young plants. Many shrubby varieties can look untidy over the year and should be cut back in spring.

Do St. John’s Wort seeds need cold stratification?

Seeds need a period of cold, moist conditions for optimal germination. Direct sow outdoors in early spring or stratify seed in a refrigerator for 3-4 weeks before sowing.

How long can St John’s wort seed survive in the seed bank?

Common St John’s-wort forms a persistent seedbank. Seeds persisted for more than five years in cultivated soil. The longevity of seeds in soil and in dry- storage was 8-10 years (Guyot et al., 1962).

How do you grow St John’s Wort from seed?

When growing St. John’s Wort from seed, the best time to start germination is 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost. You can either start germination indoors, or you can directly sow your seeds in your garden. Just place a few seeds in each spot about 1 cm (½”) deep.

How long does it take to grow St John’s Wort?

Do not sow seeds until after all danger of frost has passed. If desired, the seeds can be soaked in warm water for a few hours or overnight to get a head start on germination. Germination typically takes two to four weeks. You can also propagate St. John’s wort with cuttings from the plant.

When should I plant St John’s wort seeds?

When to Plant:We recommend starting your seeds indoors, given that outdoor-sown seeds are easily buried beneath the soil. Sow indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last spring frost, after which time you can transplant them outdoors. Planting Depth: Surface-sow tiny St. John’s Wort seeds, which require sunlight to germinate.

Does St John’s Wort grow well?

St. John’s wort may be one of the most adaptive plants you will come across in horticulture, growing well in most types of soil and exposed locations, even tolerating drought conditions. Once established, this pretty plant will look after itself, but don’t be fooled by its unassuming nature! St.

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