The hypericum experiment: may be a Gardening Oops.

The 2011 calendar has flipped from June to July which means it’s time for another episode in my ongoing Gardening Oops – aka GOOPs – series. Even after more than thirty years of gardening, I still make mistakes and missteps. I share them here to try to prevent you from making the same faux pas and to encourage some back-and-forth dialogue. After reading this July 2011 GOOPs installment, I hope you will share your thoughts and, better yet, a GOOPs of your own.

I had a lot of fun visiting a local plant sale back in May. It’s an annual fundraiser for a garden club and I found some really nice plant divisions at good prices. One of the plants I brought home is a small hypericum – commonly known as St. John’s Wort – shrub. I’ve not grown hypericum before and wanted to give it a try.


I did some research after bringing the shrub home that showed hypericum prolificum has an invasive tendency in Connecticut. It may escape cultivation and naturalize. On the other hand the Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group had no hypericum listed as invasive.

As my knowledge of invasive and native vegetation grows, I’ve become very careful to not add invasive plants to my gardens and to manage those I unknowingly planted years ago so they don’t spread.

Unfortunately, I don’t know the cultivar of the hypericum I purchased. This is one of the downsides of purchasing divided plants at local plant sales. It could very well be that I don’t have hypericum prolificum. I could have hypericum perforatum – common St. John’s Wort – which appears to be okay.

I considered letting my small hypericum shrub die but changed my mind. I decided to plant the shrub in a stone-wall encircled raised bed surrounded by lawn. I can see this bed from the desk in my office so I’m sure to stay on top of how it is acting. I’m going to get to know it for a year … see how it behaves and see if I can more accurately identify its likely cultivar after seeing it flower. But, if it begins to spread, or I see any signs of unwanted hypericum volunteers during this time the shrub is a goner and I’ll chalk up this experience to lesson learned … use caution when grabbing plant bargains at plant sales.

So now it’s your turn. Please share any hypericum experience you have and certainly share a GOOPs of your own in a comment below or on your own blog. Just be sure to leave a teaser to entice visits your blog to read your July 2011 GOOPs.

Happy gardening … may my faux pas not be yours.

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7 comments for “The hypericum experiment: may be a Gardening Oops.

  1. July 1, 2011 at 7:03 am

    I had Hypericum frondosum ‘Sunburst’ and it was absolutely well behaved and the prettiest yellow flowered shrub! No babies were ever found in the three years I had it til voles girdled and killed it.

    I also grow Hypericum androsaeum ‘Albury Purple’ and I have seedlings everywhere that I just easily pull up. Both St. Johnsworts are very showy and worth having in the garden. If you have the purple leaved one, watch for seedlings. The gray-green leaved one didn’t spread at all for me.

    My GOOPs is on my blog today, and it involves a stupid mistake that almost killed my plant.

    • joenesgarden
      July 1, 2011 at 9:30 am

      Thanks, Laurrie. I’m so intent on not adding an invasive plant … it’s nice to hear about your experience with hypericum varieties.

  2. July 1, 2011 at 9:19 am

    Joene, I didn’t realize that some St. John’s wort has invasive tendencies. Thanks for the heads up on that one. I found Laurrie’s comments about her Albany Purple particularly interesting since that cultivar seems to be getting lots of attention lately. My Goops is also about invasive plants and how I inadvertently protected on growing in my garden.

    Here’s the link:

    • joenesgarden
      July 1, 2011 at 9:32 am

      Apparently hypericum is very invasive in western and central states and in some regions of New York and Massachusetts. I’m going to keep a close eye on mine because of this.

  3. July 1, 2011 at 10:49 am

    I have not tried growing hypericum, but I have had plenty of GOOPS. I also did not know it was considered invasive. I have an Autumn Olive tree which is considered invasive, but I pull up all the little spring seedlings from underneath…and all seems well. I guess it just depends…

    • joenesgarden
      July 1, 2011 at 9:54 pm

      Autumn Olive is a real nusiance around here, Sage Butterfly, and it’s a bear to get rid of. Hope you’ll consider sharing one of your gardening oops in our monthly GOOPS confession.

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