About Great St. John's Wort: This flower earned its name by blooming at the time of the summer solstice, when the traditional feast of St. John takes place. Its reputed power to chase away evil comes from its effectiveness as an herbal treatment for depression and melancholy, which at one time were believed to be a sign of demonic oppression. The species name “punctatum” meaning “punctured” alludes to the tiny black spots on the leaves and blossoms; in reality, these are not holes but glands that contain the oils of the plant. The term “wort” comes from the Old English, referring to a plant commonly used for medicinal or herbal purposes.
Great St. John's Wort Germination: Direct sow in the fall, pressing the tiny seeds in the surface of rich soil and sprinkling a very thin layer of soil on top; this seed needs light to germinate. Mixing the seed with a small amount of sand may help in seed distribution. For spring planting, mix the seed with moist sand and store it in the refrigerator for 60 days before planting. To start indoors, sow seeds in a flat, keeping the soil lightly moist and at a temperature of 65-70 degrees F until germination. Transplant seedlings outdoors as soon as they can safely be handled.
Growing Great St. John's Wort Seeds: Keep seedlings watered until they have become established. Mature plants also thrive with regular moisture and do well in well-drained, moist soil; they do not grow well in drought conditions. Eventually this plant may spread by rhizomes, though it does not become aggressive.
Harvesting Great St. John's Wort: These blossoms do not perform well as cut flowers, and are best enjoyed in the garden.
Saving Great St. John's Wort Seeds: After the flowers fade, pointed seed pods will develop that mature from green to brown. When ripe, they will split open at the top to reveal the tiny brown seeds. Shake the open pods over a container to remove the seed. Store the cleaned seed in a cool, dry place.
Detailed Great St. John's Wort Info: Origin: US Native Other Common Names: Duration: Perennial Bloom Time: Summer Height: 48-72 inches Spacing: 18-24 inches Light: Full Sun to Part Shade Soil Moisture: Medium to Moist USDA Zone: 2a-10b Seeds Per Oz: 205,000 Produces a plant with 2-3” elongated oval leaves and clusters of 2” yellow flowers with five petals.