Why You Should Consider Growing St. John’s Wort

Dan Specialty Crops, This Land of Ours

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Cathy Isom has a few important tips on why you should consider growing St. John’s Wort, and how to plant and harvest it. That’s coming up on This Land of Ours.

Why You Should Consider Growing St. John’s Wort

St. John’s Wort is known as nature’s antidepressant, and although it’s not officially approved by the FDA to treat anxiety and depression, the herb is a popular alternative to prescription drugs. St. John’s Wort has been used for centuries, both for its healing benefits and its effects for pain management and wound healing.

While you can start growing St. John’s wort from seeds indoors, they require nearly three months to germinate. These plants won’t grow very quickly over the first year, but seeds may continue to sprout indefinitely.  Grow the plant outdoors in an herb garden or in a container. Sow the seeds on the surface of the soil in autumn or early spring, then place the plant in a partially sunny window or sunny garden spot, and keep the soil moist. The best part is that once you get your St. John’s wort plants started, these weed-like perennials will always be around.

This herb is typically best used fresh. If you steep fresh blossoms in olive oil, that oil will turn deep red in hue. If the oil is made from dried St. John’s wort, however, it may remain clear.


Roll a flower bud between your fingers, and if you see a deep maroon or purple-ish stain, your plants are ready for harvest. Never harvest more than 4-6 inches from the main stem of a plant or two, and never from flowers on the branching stems.

Additionally, St. John’s Wort is poisonous to some animals, so make sure to keep it away from your pets’ reach.

I’m Cathy Isom…