The Q&A Archives: Caring for St. John's Wort

Question: I have a St. Johns Wort plant that is blooming and looks beautiful. How do I keep it looking good? Do I need to pinch off the flowers after they have bloomed? Should I cut it back in the fall? What part of the plant can be eaten?

Answer: Hypericum, or St. Johnswort, can be creeping or upright. The creeping type is used as groundcover in sunny to partly shady garden beds. The shrub type will grow to 3' tall. Both kinds of St. Johnswort can be clipped back after flowering to promote new stems and leaves.

St. Johnswort is not edible, but the flowers and leaves are sometimes dried and used as tea. There is a cautionary note here - after consuming such tea, fair skinned people sometimes develop dermatitis following exposure to the sun. Be sure to thoroughly investigate all aspects of any plant before using it medicinally.

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