Hypericum prolificum, or Shrubby St. John’s Wort is a small, durable shrub that provides large cheery yellow blooms in early to mid summer. Dry or rocky soil does not phase this shrub. It prefers full sun to part shade and will grow up to 5 feet in height, usually lower. This is one of our shorter native shrubs – many shrubs grow 8 feet or more, but this one enjoys staying on the smaller side!Its stems become woody and mahogony-colored with age, and the bark peels off. This provides winter interest.
It occurs naturally from New York south to Georgia and Louisiana usually in fields and thickets, on rocky ground, dry wooded slopes, uncultivated fields, gravel bars along streams and in low, moist valleys. Shrubby St. John’s Wort tolerates drought, brief flooding, moderate salinity and sandy or clay soils.
At times it does get yellow spots on the leaves, but pruning out the affected branches is an effective control strategy. You ca also prune it lightly each spring to give it a uniform shape, or you an cut it back hard every few years.
The dark green leaves provide larval food for the caterpillars of the Gray hairstreak and various moths.
The large flowers offer plentiful pollen to bees and flies. Although they do not offer nectar, sometimes nectar seeking butterflies and wasps will give it a try. They are largely deer resistant and also tolerant of juglones from walnuts.
You can use Shrubby St Johns Wort in your landscape as a hedge, in a mass, to stabilize embankments, or as part of a border. However you use it, you will be delighted by its blooms and all-season interest.