Golden St. John's Wort

Leaves and immature fruit of golden St. John's wort.

Golden St. John's Wort puts on an explosive display of bright yellow flowers in mid-summer that lasts for 3 to 4 weeks. This  shrubby, round shrub has stiff, upright branching, blue-green narrow foliage that turns reddish purple in the fall. The exfoliating bark and persistent seed capsules add winter interest to the landscape.

This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.


Botanical name:

Hypericum frondosum

All Common Names:

Golden St John's Wort, Golden Saint John's wort

Family (English):

St John's Wort

Family (Botanic):


Tree or Plant Type:

  • Shrub

Native Locale:

  • North America

Landscape Uses:

  • Container,
  • Foundation,
  • Massing,
  • Mixed border

Size Range:

  • Small shrub (3-5 feet),
  • Low-growing shrub (under 3 feet)

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7,
  • Zone 8

Soil Preference:

  • Alkaline soil,
  • Moist, well-drained soil

Season of Interest:

  • Early winter,
  • Mid winter,
  • Early summer,
  • Mid summer

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Yellow

Shape or Form:

  • Round,
  • Upright

Growth Rate:

  • Moderate

More Information:

Size & form

A shrubby, upright to rounded shrub reaching 3 to 4 feet high and wide.

Tree & Plant Care

Full sun to part shade in moist, well-drained soil.
Drought tolerant once established.
Plants benefit with winter protection. May die back to ground in harsh winters.
Plants flower on new wood, prune in spring.

Disease, pests, and problems

Leaf spots can be a problem.

Native geographic location and habitat

Southeastern U.S. to TX

Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife

Bees and birds.

Bark color and texture 

Exfoliating outer reddish-brown bark with a thin bronze color inner bark.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Oblong, narrow, linear leaves, 1 to 11/2 inches long, blue-green.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Large 5-petaled flowers about 1 1/2 inches across with dense bushy stamens.
Flowers bloom mid-summer for 3 to 4 weeks. 

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

A reddish-brown narrow fruit capsule ripens in September and persists into winter.

Cultivars and their differences 

Sunburst Golden St. John's Wort (Hypericum frondosum 'Sunburst'): A 3 to 4 feet high and wide, stiffly branches shrub with rich yellow flowers, blue-green foliage and reddish brown fall color.

Location of Hypericum frondosum (Golden St. John's Wort) at the Arboretum