Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hyper Colored Hypericum for Wildflower Wednesday

Cedar Glade St Johnswort is a blaze of multicolored leaves from October  through December in my garden.

 A study in yellows, golds and burgundies  greets me as I walk the garden.

Hypericum frondosum is a fantastic plant that is as happy in a cultivated  garden or woodland  as it is in the forested understory  near a cedar glade.  It's an easy to grow native of the Southeastern US, including Texas and Louisiana.  It flowers best in full sun with decent moisture, but tolerates dry shade very well.  I mulch it with fallen leaves, but, occasionally it dies back.  Not to worry, it blooms on new growth.  

It came to my garden as the cultivar  'Sunburst'; a shorter, more compact looking shrub then  the species.    The mother plant is long gone and all the seedlings have grown to  resemble H frondosum with its  lankier growth habit.
 I love them. I  love their lanky growth; their exfoliating bark; their blue green summer foliage; their hyper colored fall foliage; their golden sunburst flowers; and,  that bees and other pollinators  flock to them when in bloom.  It's a short lived and free seeding plant and that ain't bad! I've massed them in the garden and still have had enough to share with friends.
Click to enlarge this one!
 I think they are stunning plants in the fall, handsome in the summer and striking in the winter.
At a  friend's house
Every fall when I see their  brilliant color I wonder why more American gardeners haven't planted them.  I think they  make a wonderful substitute for the invasive and  ubiquitous  Euonomous alata.   They really are fine looking, four season  semi woodie shrubs that gives you a lot of bang for the gardening buck.

I love the excellent  blue-green foliage and bright sunny yellow flowers.
How could you not consider this beauty for your garden!

The facts about Hypericum frondosum
  • Plant type                 shrub      Native Southeast, Mid-Atlantic states, Louisiana and Texas
  • Light                        full-sun-to-part-shade
  • Height                      2 ft.6 in. to 4 ft.
  • Spread                      about 3 ft.
  • Habit                        upright
  • Soil pH                     slightly-acidic-to-neutral-pH6.5-7
  • Soil moisture            dry, tolerates wet soil in winter
  • Bloom time               early June at Clay and Limestone
  • Flower color             yellow
  • Bloom size                2 in. to 2 in.
  • Foliage color             a luscious blue-green
  • Foliage size               4 in. to 4 in.
  • Faunal Associations  Hairstreak caterpillar and bees  
 Welcome to Clay and Limestone's Wildflower Wednesday celebration. WW is about sharing and celebrating wildflowers from all over this great big, beautiful world. Join us on the fourth Wednesday of each month. Please add your url to Mr Linky and leave a comment. xxoogail


    1. Dear Gail, Thank you for this inspiring ritual of looking for and appreciating the wildflowers in our midst. The Hypericum is a wonder, and I too wonder why it is not more widely used. We have Sunburst, it has been more times than should be allowed, so hasn't reached seed setting stage yet here. We look forward to having free plants of it, for that mass planting. :-)

    2. Sigh. That should read, it has been MOVED more times...

    3. Lovely post Gail. I am in love with your Hypericum frondosum's leaf color and cheery bright flowers. I am not sure if it is hardy for me being a native southern, but then so am I! ;>)) Thanks so for the introduction! Wishing you a very happy love filled Thanksgiving.

    4. I've seen the Hypericum in bloom before, but have never seen it in the fall--or probably didn't recognize it. What beautiful foliage! Once again, I've learned something new here, and will consider adding this one to my garden.

      Thank you for hosting this once again, Gail. Wishing you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving!

    5. Hypericum is rarely seen around here, but I always admire it.

    6. Wonderful plant to have, I have added it to my next years garden list.I liked the shot with the bench to the side, the amount of color is really nice.Native here in Iowa is Hypericium punctatum and sphaerocarpum, spotted and round fruited respectfully.The flower isn't as ornate and smaller.Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

    7. I'm glad you mentioned that this is a good native alternative to burning bush. We have a similar Hypericum in the frosty north - Hypericum pyramidatum or Great St. John's Wort. It also likes a woodland/part shade setting with the large yellow flowers. Thanks for highlighting this plant.


    8. I don't remember seeing this around here. Hmmmm I will have to look into it as it is gorgeous. I love those lucious lemony blooms. Happy WW.

    9. I just never think of Hypericums as native plants. They are very handsome throughout the season.

    10. That's a great Hypericum! Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for hosting Wildflower Wednesday!

    11. Yesterday I stumbled on a link for St. John's wort and wondered why it hadn't made its way into our garden yet Gail!

      Wonderful plant, and excellent profile. Thank you.

      Happy Thanksgiving!

    12. It's the landscapers plant of choice around here, but even so it's still beautiful.

      I love the color in your shots, especially the russet tones...

      Have a great Thanksgiving.

      Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

    13. I love hypericums! The flowers are bright, the seed pods are interesting, they stay small without pruning. What's not to love about them?

    14. Beautiful and I've never heard of them. I love finding out about new plants. Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for hosting WW!
      David/ Tropical Texana/ Houston

    15. I love Hypericum too, and have it in my London garden. It's often used as a roadside plant here in milan, too.

    16. Hi Gail....I grow many hypericum (native and non-native). I love them. They are extremely unpopular in UK and I really do not know why. They are often used in car parks or surrounding shopping centres. I rarely see them in gardens.....

      I love yours as much as I love our native Hypericum androsaemum (Tutsan).

    17. Thank you for this great post. I had not seen a large planting of it in the fall and I do appreciate it. In my area, it can be hard to get gardeners interested in deciduous plants, which is, I think, a great shame. Maybe that has something to do with my they don't plant more hypericum?

    18. I enlarged per instructions and was treated to a riot of color. Thanks for blowing the horn of this great native.

    19. Wow -- such brilliance of color! Mine have not started changing yet and do not acheive the brilliance of yours (perhaps because of the pH of the soil), but it's still colorful. I agree, it's a great native plant. Love the picture of all of the color around the bench. Splendid!

    20. Gail girl Happy Thanksgiving : )
      I just planted one of these remarkable plants this year because the flower totally over powered me and shouted "You MUST take me home and plant me in your garden!" .. Seriously the flower is outrageous isn't it ? and that foliage shouts look at me .. yours have made themselves quite at home and look wonderful with the blue chairs .. great setting girl !
      Joy : )

    21. Lovely shots. It's great to see such colour during these short grey days here in the UK!

    22. Sounds like a great plant, Gail. I love your photos.

    23. It is such a great plant with multi-season interest. I'm glad you identified mine when you came to visit. Happy WW.~~Dee

    24. How I wish mine looked like yours, Gail. I've gotten one or two blooms out of mine in a year and a half, and it hangs on but doesn't look thrilled to be here. Maybe my dry shade is just too dry? Too alkaline? I don't know, but I love those flowers and would love to see more of them.

    25. Hi Gail,
      That is a beauty! I threw a post together this evening, with photos that didn't turn out the best, and not enough information given about my plant, but I did include a link that gives more information. I'm late to boot, but I still wanted to participate.


    "Insects are the little things that run the world." Dr. E O Wilson