Spotted St. John's wort
Sun/shade: Full sun to part shade
Soil moisture: Medium
Flowering period: July to September
Host plant for 23 caterpillar species
From its speckled new leaves to its maturing floral clusters, where sunny blossoms open beside those dusky with age, spotted St. John's wort almost seems to sparkle. The beguiling little plant is a favorite of bumblebees, who gather its pollen to feed to their developing larvae. Bumble bees are highly effective pollinators, in part because they display floral constancy in their foraging, visiting plants of the same species sequentially and thus increasing the chances of pollination success. Supporting healthy bumble bee populations is critical to ecosystem health, and including spotted St. Johnswort in a pollinator garden is one way to help these industrious creatures.
In terms of growing conditions, spotted St. John's wort does best in soils of average moisture under full sun to part shade. Within its native NE Ohio range, the plant can be found growing in a variety of habitats, including meadows, woodland edges, and open riparian areas. Attaining a modest height of 1-3 feet and spreading by means of short rhizomes, spotted St. Johnswort is a great choice for the front portion of gardens that utilize a height-stratified planting scheme. In natural areas, spotted St. Johnswort is sometimes found growing in association with blue lobelia, which is similar in height but blooms a bit later in the seasonPhoto by Ashley Keesling.