You have two considerations to master how to prune St John’s wort. The process itself is relatively simple, similar to how one would maintain other plants like lobelia. Remember that some plants require pruning as part of their maintenance practice to keep them healthy.
More so, plants like St John’s wort flower from spring to summer, but pruning is necessary to keep them blooming well. Not only will pruning benefit your plant’s flowers and overall health, but this practice should keep them within control and maintain a neat-looking UK garden. Shrubs are excellent additions to the British garden, but only if you retain their shape regularly.
Comprehensive Guide On How To Prune St John’s Wort
Like with other plants, the best time to prune a St John’s wort is during early spring because new growth is about to begin. As mentioned earlier, these plants produce flowers in the summer, so you want to avoid pruning during this time, or you’ll have no flowers for the season. The blossoms will bloom as the plant grows in spring, and this is the ideal time to cut the plant back.
Besides early spring, are there other periods for pruning St. John’s wort? Pruning in early spring will help rejuvenate the plant and recover. You can cut every spring for maintenance, but some gardeners in the UK also prune half of the new stems in the middle of the summer to create fuller growth.
Another importance of this timing is that it will maintain your St. John’s Wort healthy and flowering. If you have many shrubs, you also want to thin some of them to provide a suitable space for each plant.
You can cut the old and unproductive stems, which stand out from the others due to the odd shape and tall height.
Lastly, a helpful tip to remember is to plan three years of pruning. Start with pruning one-third of the growth during the first year, one-half of the old stems on the second, and prune the remaining original branches in the third year. You can do this in addition to cutting for maintaining the shape and height of your shrubs.
Before anything else, it’s also worth noting that St. John’s wort or Hypericums are a diverse group of species. Therefore, you want to consider groundcovers, shrubs, or spreaders when pruning your plants. Otherwise, the technique itself is no different than pruning other plants that require them.
For example, you want to use sharp and sterilised tools to create a clean cut. Sharp tools retain the shrub’s look but won’t also put the plants at risk for infection. Remember to sterilise your shears with bleach and water and sharpen them beforehand, as pruning presents an opportunity for pathogens to attack your plants.
Pruning itself involves selecting all the damaged and dead branches. You can also keep your shrubs tidy and prevent them from overgrowing in the area by pruning the crossing branches. Keeping them clean will thin the plant, and you can also reduce the branches’ tips to help it rejuvenate itself for the next season.
Gardeners in the United Kingdom often prune at one-third of a St. John’s wort shrub’s total height to promote branch development and flowering from the cut tips. Aim to cut at an angle around 6 inches from the ground. But otherwise, a quarter an inch above the bud in a direction where you want new growth is also optimal.
You can do this around the middle or late in March, especially for your plants that seem to have problems in flowering.
How To Grow St. John’s Wort
Now that you know the proper way of maintaining these shrubs, you should also study how to care for them correctly. The process itself is simple, where you’ll choose an area in your British garden with full sun and has well-draining soil. Perhaps the most significant problem you want to avoid is an overly wet environment.
Watering and feeding St. John’s wort is as simple as maintaining soil moisture and using compost annually. Once established, the plant can survive drought and even poor soils. And if you want to prevent seed formation, you must deadhead the plant’s flowers when they fade.
In terms of propagation, you can start the seeds indoors or sow them directly on the soil. But unlike other plants, you only have to press the seeds into the surface instead of covering them with soil. On the other hand, you can take stem cuttings around 4 inches long from an existing healthy parent plant for rooting St. John’s wort.
Pruning shrubs is a simple practice that will rejuvenate your plants and promote flowering. Learning how to prune St John’s wort correctly will ensure a tidy UK garden and gorgeous blooms every season. You only have to consider the proper timing and method, and you shouldn’t have any problem maintaining this shrub.
In general, early spring or mid-summer is the ideal time to prune St John’s wort. You can remove the damaged stems or use these periods to cut the tips and encourage more blossoms. The pruning technique itself is straightforward, where you reduce the branch tips and prune at one-third of the plant’s total height.