Shrubby St. John's wort
Sun/shade: Full sun to part shade
Soil moisture: Dry to wet soil
Flowering period: July
Host plant for 23 caterpillar species
Shrubby St. John’s wort’s yellow blooms are resplendent in the sunshine, their tall golden stamens beaming forth like rays of light. The shrub produces numerous flowers during the month of July, serving as a favorite pollen resource for bumble bees. Although the flowers do not secrete nectar, the pollen is highly sought-after as food for developing bee larvae. July is a time of much activity in the bumble bee nest, as the colony aims to produce as many female workers, male drones, and next-year’s queens as possible. The pollen foraged from shrubby St. John’s wort nourishes all of these diverse members of the bumble bee colony.
A native constituent of NE Ohio meadows and forest edges, shrubby St. John’s wort grows well under full sun to partial shade, and in soils of moderately wet to moderately dry moisture. Due to fairly good drought tolerance, shrubby St. John’s wort should not require midsummer watering, and it may be planted in rather dry situations. A rounded shrub of 2-4 feet in height, shrubby St. John’s wort can be used in a variety of garden scenarios, and it makes a great replacement for the nonnative but oft-planted boxwood, a plant which offers little to no wildlife value. As a woody plant, shrubby St. John's wort can diversify the structure of a wildflower planting, acting as a centerpiece among shorter herbaceous flowers. It can be used as a border along walkways, and if planted densely, may function as a low hedge. Its modest stature can be an asset, allowing its use in many spaces that would be too limiting for a larger shrub. It should require virtually no maintenance, but if it grows taller than desired, it may be pruned in early spring without impairing its foliage or flowering. For a colorful display, plant shrubby St. John’s wort along with common yarrow, Virginia mountain mint, purple coneflower, and dense blazing star.