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Growing St. John’s Wort in Containers: Simple Steps For Success

Portrait Of Middle Aged Woman With Fresh Cut Flowers Of St. John's Wort Plant

Growing St. John’s Wort in containers around your garden is a great option.

If you are looking for a simple display in a corner of your yard, St. John’s Wort is an excellent choice.

Or, if you are simply looking for a neat and attractive borderline for your yard, then St. John’s Wort once again, is a sound choice.

I’ve found that rather than letting it grow in the ground, strategically placed containers around the yard make for a very attractive look.

This flowering plant can transform an otherwise drab-looking yard and add some colorful spice to it.

St. John’s Wort can adapt to different sizes of pots, even growing when constrained in a small container.

Growing St. John’s Wort In Containers

Growing St John's wort flowers in containersBut why grow St. John’s Wort in containers? That’s my personal preference simply because I’m a “neat freak” when it comes to this sort of stuff.

Sure, my main vegetable garden is in the ground however, it’s supplemented with several varieties growing in containers.

This is something I learned from my expert gardening parents a long time ago. Growing up on a farm, self-sufficiency was a huge thing.

While we were surrounded by acres and acres of grapevines, every available piece of ground around the main house was utilized.

Once the available ground was used up, containers came into play significantly.

They lined the verandah; they were inside the house and they were along the borders of the garden. My folks just knew how to make use of every part of our property.

We didn’t grow St. John’s Wort back then. It’s something I discovered as a young man while at work. During my days as a radio DJ, I was going through a rough stretch during the mid-nineties.

Feeling low, my producer suggested I look into taking St. John’s Wort. Apparently, it was being marketed as a supplement for medicinal purposes. I cleared it with my doctor and started taking it.

The honest truth? I’m not sure it did anything for me.

But as a flowering plant in a container around the house, it certainly made people sit up and take notice.

In this article, I’ll guide you through the process of growing St. John’s Wort in containers – from selecting the right pot size to understanding the plant’s preferences for light and moisture.

By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying healthy, flourishing St. John’s Wort plants in your very own containers.

Choosing A Container And Soil

growing st. john's wort in containers around the homeWhen it comes to selecting a container for growing St. John’s Wort, there’s no shortage of options.

St. John’s Wort is adaptable. It doesn’t really matter the size of the pot, it will adjust to the size of its surroundings.

For plants that are larger, choose a container at least 3 gallons in size. This translates to about 11 liters. And depth-wise, consider a container that’s at least a foot deep. Keep in mind that smaller containers will still work, but the plant may not grow as large as in bigger pots.

Soil Types

Choosing the right soil type is crucial for your St. John’s Wort to thrive. All-purpose potting soil is an excellent choice for planting St. John’s Wort in a container.

Look for a brand that uses a peat-free mix, and make sure the soil has the necessary nutrients for plant growth.

It’s a good idea to amend the soil with two inches of compost or manure to increase fertility and improve drainage.


St. John’s Wort appreciates soil that’s well drained. Soil that’s too wet soil can be harmful to the plant. Make sure you don’t flood the soil it’s in.

To ensure proper drainage, place a layer of small rocks or gravel at the bottom of your container before adding the potting soil.

This will prevent water from accumulating at the bottom and allow excess moisture to drain away easily. You may also want to mix some coarse sand or perlite into the soil to further improve the drainage.

Remember to regularly check the moisture level of your soil and make adjustments as needed. St. John’s Wort will grow best in soil that is consistently moist but not saturated.

By choosing the right container size, selecting the appropriate soil type, and ensuring proper drainage, you’ll create an ideal environment for your St. John’s Wort to thrive indoors.

With the right care, growing St. John’s Wort in containers is a satisfying experience. You can expect beautiful and healthy growth from your potted plant.

St. John’s Wort Plant Characteristics – Size and Growth Habit

St. John’s Wort is a hardy plant that may grow in a variety of environments.

It can spread out to be between 12 and 48 inches wide and 1 to 3 feet tall, making it a good choice for container gardening or as a lovely addition to a garden bed or border.

The plant’s deep taproot may be shorter when cultivated in pots as opposed to when it is sown into the ground. St. John’s wort has a dense and bushy growth style, which adds to its decorative appeal.

Flowers and Foliage

St. John’s Wort has gorgeous foliage in addition to producing lovely yellow blooms with spectacular stamens. However, some cultivars of this shrub have varied colored foliage for an even more spectacular show.

The leaves of this shrub are normally a deep green color. In the summer, when the flowers are in bloom, your garden will be visited by bees and other pollinators.

After the blooming season, the plant develops vibrant berries that last until the fall, giving this attractive shrub even more visual interest.

One excellent option to add St. John’s Wort’s beauty and advantages to your outdoor space is to grow it in containers.

In fact, they’ll complement the existing vegetation in your garden. If the rest of the garden looks a little colorless or is dominated by one color, St. John’s Wort will play a big part in transforming the appearance.

You’ll be well-equipped to care for and enjoy this distinctive and adaptable plant in your garden if you understand its size, growth habit, plus stunning flower and foliage traits.

Growing Conditions and Requirements – Sun and Shade Preferences

Growing St. John's Wort in containers gardeningThe correct quantity of sunlight must be provided for St. John’s wort to grow at its best when grown in pots.

This is just common sense and understanding your plant. This plant does best in full sun to light shade.

A little afternoon shade can help shield your plants from the heat if you live in a hotter area. In contrast, make sure your plants get enough sunlight throughout the day in colder climates.

Water Requirements

The best soil for St. John’s Wort is moist but well-drained. Maintain good irrigation of your plant as you establish it in the container.

When the plant reaches maturity, it becomes very drought-resistant and is tolerant to periods of lack of moisture.

Avoid overwatering since too much water in the soil might lead to root rot.

Temperature And Hardiness

This resilient perennial is climate and environment tolerant. But that does not mean that you plant it and forget it.

It will still require your attention with regular maintenance checks.

To ensure ideal growth, refresh your understanding of this plant’s ability to withstand extreme temperatures for the best results. St. John’s Wort can typically withstand both warm southern climates and cold northern climates.

If you reside in a location where temperatures are harsh or frequently vary, always provide some protection.

Just remember to give your St. John’s Wort the proper amounts of water, sunlight, and temperature it requires.

It will repay you by flourishing in its container. For best results, watch these factors and make the necessary adjustments.

Planting and Propagation

growing st. john's wort in containers large

We’ve established that St. John’s Wort can be successfully grown in containers.

This section will cover the steps involved in planting and growing the plant, such as starting with seeds, transplanting, and appropriate spacing.

The process is pretty simple and you’ll have your own St. John’s Wort adding color and beauty to your home in no time.

Starting from Seeds

Start with seeds in order to grow St. John’s Wort. They should be sown on the soil’s surface, either uncovered or with 1/4 inch (6 mm) of potting soil applied.

After that, put your container somewhere warm to promote germination. Find an area around your home that gets a generous amount of sunshine.

It could take some time for the seeds to sprout, so have patience.

Resist the temptation to be too attentive or want to add something to the soil. One thing about St. John’s Wort I’ve found is that it hates to be rushed.

Remember, there are numerous varieties of St. John’s Wort so understand that some may have distinct environmental needs.

St. John’s Wort enjoys a little shade in the South but loves full sunshine in northern regions.

Transplanting and Spacing

It’s time to transplant your seedlings into a larger container or directly into the ground after they are a few inches (3 to 4 inches) tall.

Be sure to transfer your plants at the same height they were in their original containers.

Proper spacing is crucial because St. John’s Wort can grow 1 to 3 feet tall with a spread of 1.5 to 2 feet.

To give your plants room to expand and form a sturdy and reliable root system, place them 2-3 feet apart.

Water your St. John’s Wort well after planting to keep the soil moist until the plants are well-established.

They will be able to build strong roots, supporting their growth all season long. The following short video provides an excellent overview of the planting and harvesting process.

Environmental Conditions

Growing St. John's Wort in containers at homeBy now you are aware that St. John’s Wort is a hardy plant that can be planted in containers practically any time of the year.

The most typical times, however, when plants are available at nurseries are early spring or late summer.

One tip to keep in mind is that when you plant in the early spring, this gives the roots plenty of time to grow and establish during the summer period. This is important heading into early fall.

Early spring planting enables the root system to develop over the summer before the start of the fall dormant season. Throughout the growing season, be sure your St. John’s Wort receives enough sunlight and moisture Keep an eye on environmental factors like temperature.

You are well on your way to having a lovely and flourishing container garden now that you are aware of the planting and growing requirements associated with St. John’s Wort.

Remember to give your plants the right attention and care but don’t overdo it. You’ll be pleased with the results. 

Maintaining And Caring For St. John’s Wort – Pruning and Shaping

growing st. john's wort in containers medium sizedSt. John’s Wort needs to be pruned to encourage new growth and keep it looking tidy.

Before new growth begins in late winter or early spring consider cutting back your plant. Since the plant flowers on new wood, this encourages it to create additional blooms.

During this operation, don’t forget to cut any branches that are dead, broken, or congested.

Fertilizing and Mulching

St. John’s Wort will benefit from fertilization. It will help it develop into a healthy and strong plant.

To avoid overfertilizing, use a controlled-release fertilizer in the spring and at regular intervals during the growing season. Spreading a 2-inch-thick layer of mulch around your plants also helps the soil retain moisture, control weeds, and avoid excessive temperature swings.

Mulch alternatives include organic resources like compost, manure, or bark chips.

Preventing Invasive Growth

St. John’s Wort can be a worthwhile addition to any container garden. Despite this, it’s important to keep this tenacious plant from spreading.

Consider putting it in a container that limits its root growth if you want to control how far it spreads. Monitor the plant’s growth carefully.

Make sure it doesn’t outgrow its allotted space or intrude weed-like onto adjacent plants.

You can manage the growth of your St. John’s Wort while still making use of its attractive blossoms and helpful characteristics by acting early. 

Monitoring frequently and keeping a proper watering and fertilization schedule will greatly help in this area.

Also, be aware of your plants’ watering requirements when growing St. John’s wort in containers, especially during the establishment stage.

After planting, water gently and deeply, keeping the soil moist until the plant has developed a sturdy root system.

Your plant will become more drought-tolerant as it ages. It will need less watering overall.

Resist the urge to keep watering only to keep the soil wet. Too much water and swamp-like soil can hurt the plant.

Harvesting and Usage – Harvesting Flowers and Leaves

St. John's wort growing in containersWait until the plant has flowered to harvest St. John’s Wort. This is usually during the first stages of summer when it will be more potent after it has flowered. 

This is in contrast to several other herbs that taste better when gathered before flowering.

Pick the plant’s new blooms and leaves carefully so you don’t harm the stem or roots before harvesting. Early in the day, after the dew has dried but before the sun becomes too hot, will be the best time to harvest St. John’s Wort.

St. John’s Wort Benefits and Uses

Oil: To produce St. John’s Wort oil, put the fresh blooms and leaves into a mason jar and add enough wheat germ oil or olive oil to cover the contents. Put the jar in the sun with the lid screwed on, shaking it once daily. The oil should become a rich crimson or red color after 2 to 4 weeks, signifying that it is ready for usage. This infused oil is reported to be helpful for skin irritations, muscle aches, and nerve disorders. Learn how to make the oil here.

Benefits: St. John’s Wort has been utilized for its positive effects on mental health since ancient times. It has a reputation for easing the symptoms of PMS, SAD, and depression while the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory characteristics of this herb can aid in the healing of wounds and the calming of sensitive skin. As I mentioned above, I used it briefly in the nineties but didn’t notice much difference in how I was feeling. I can’t confirm the claims of benefits in this area.

Side Effects: It’s crucial to be aware that taking St. John’s Wort may cause you to feel lightheaded, have a dry mouth, or be sun sensitive. St. John’s Wort can also interact with several prescription drugs, including birth control pills, so be cautious and seek medical advice before adding it to your wellness regimen.

Enhancing Your Life With St. John’s Wort

Growing St. John’s Wort in containers not only provides you with a beautiful yellow-flowering plant but also gives you easy access to its many benefits.

Whether you’re using it in a tincture, as an infused oil, or exploring its effects in traditional medicine, this versatile herb can be a valuable addition to your garden and overall well-being.

Enjoy discovering the ways St. John’s Wort can enhance your life while nurturing it within your container garden.

Landscape and Design Ideas

Consider growing St. John’s Wort as a ground cover. Because of its low-growing nature and abundant foliage, St. John’s Wort can be an excellent ground cover.

Choose medium-sized containers that are at least 12 inches in diameter and have excellent drainage when you put them in containers. For an even ground cover impression, place these containers close together.

Your garden will have a lovely carpet of color thanks to its flowing green foliage and vivid yellow flowers, which will also draw pollinators like bees and butterflies.

Incorporating St. John’s Wort Into Rock Gardens

St. John’s Wort is an excellent addition to rock gardens. This flowering shrub is an excellent ally for other drought-tolerant plants because it thrives in well-drained soil.

Select pots that go nicely with the rocks and pebbles in your rock garden including St. John’s Wort.

To provide visual interest and different textures to the surrounding ground area, disperse the pots throughout the design of the rock garden.

Creating A Floral Display With St. John’s Wort

 growing St. John's Wort in containers in gardenSt. John’s Wort-infused floral arrangements are a wonderful landscape element.

Its eye-catching yellow blossoms provide a vibrant splash of brightness.

Here are some ideas for using St. John’s Wort in your containers to make stunning floral arrangements:

Height Variation: Use different-sized containers to create a tiered effect, showcasing the flowers at various heights to attract more attention.

Clustered Arrangement: Group multiple containers together to produce a dense, blooming display that draws the eye and supports pollinators.

Companion Planting: Pair St. John’s Wort with other flowering plants and shrubs that complement its colors and growing conditions, such as lavender or Russian sage.

This will create a rich palette of colors and textures, enhancing the overall visual appeal of your garden.

Keep in mind that St. John’s wort is adaptable and can be used in a variety of container sizes.

To create a landscape and design that best suits the aesthetic and practical needs of your garden, experiment with various designs and combinations.

Dealing With Pests And Diseases

It’s likely that you will have to deal with pests and diseases at some stage during the growing phase. That’s the nature of gardening. St. John’s Wort is no different.

Check your plants frequently for pests like aphids and spider mites, and apply natural solutions like insecticidal soap sprays or beneficial insect introductions.

Remove any infected leaves and make sure your plants have adequate air circulation if your St. John’s Wort develops leaf spots or rust illnesses. Avoid overhead watering and, if necessary, employ a fungicide with a copper base.

Maximizing Flower Production

To maximize flower production, plant your St. John’s Wort in a medium-sized container with a diameter of at least 12 inches. Make sure it has excellent drainage and choose a potting soil rich in organic matter. Although the plant can tolerate poor soils and drought, providing it with moist soil and adequate water helps yield more flowers.

St. John’s Wort grows best in partial shade to full sun. If you live in the North, place the container in a spot with full sun exposure. In the South, a bit of shade is preferred. The perk of container gardening is that you can quickly move your plants around to provide optimal sunlight.

When it comes to fertilizers, avoid overdoing them. An all-purpose, slow-release fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season should suffice. Additionally, prune your St. John’s Wort regularly to promote bushier growth and more blooms.

In summary, give your St. John’s Wort the right conditions, and it will reward you with bountiful flowers. Remember to monitor your plants for pests and diseases, provide sufficient sunlight, and keep their soil moist for the best results. And, most importantly, enjoy the delightful sight of your thriving St. John’s Wort in containers!

Conclusion: Growing St. John’s Wort In Containers

tips to growing st. john's wort in containersThis may sound like a lot to learn but the truth is, growing St. John’s Wort in containers is an easy and simple process.

The benefit of container gardening is that you can move your plants around simply to give them the best possible sunlight.

Just remember…St. John’s Wort thrives in both full sun and light shade. If you live in the North, place the container in an area around or in your home that receives direct sunlight. While in the south, St. John’s Wort will benefit from a little shade.

It’s best not to use too much fertilizer. At the start of the growing season, a general-purpose, slow-release fertilizer should be sufficient. You should also frequently clip your St. John’s wort to encourage bushier growth and more blossoms.

In conclusion, providing your St. John’s Wort with the ideal conditions will repay you with an abundance of flowers.

For optimal results, keep an eye out for pests and illnesses, give your plants enough sunlight, and maintain wet soil.

Above all, savor the look of your flourishing St. John’s Wort in containers!

JD Dean

Growing up on a farm gave me and my family some huge advantages. One of them was learning to grow our own food. Apart from acres and acres of crops, we had a magnificent fruit and vegetable garden plus, we canned our own food. I’m hoping to pass on some of this expertise and experience to you.

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