Growing Tutsan Shrubs: Tips On Tutsan Care In The Garden
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By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist
Tutsan is the larger flowered variety of Hypericum, or St. John’s Wort. It is native to western and southern Europe and from the Mediterranean to Iran. It was a common medicinal plant. Regional gardeners were growing Tutsan shrubs to make tinctures that cured all sorts of ills. Today, it is a spectacular deciduous flowering shrub that makes its best showing in June to August with large attractive berries following into September.
Tutsan Plant Info
If you are looking for an easy-to-grow, showy plant with several seasons of interest, look no further than Tutsan St. John’s Wort. The plant is fast growing and can even be sheared severely, giving it a refreshed look in spring. It is a high ground cover that may get 3 feet (1 m.) tall with a similar spread. Mass plantings of Tutsan flowers evoke woodsy appeal in even the most manicured of landscapes.
Tutsan St. John’s Wort is an ancient herb with ornamental appeal. Are Tutsan and St John’s Wort the same? They are both forms of Hypericum but Tutsan has larger floral displays than the Hypericum peiforatum, the wild form of the plant. Tutsan is classed as Hypericum androsaemum.
An interesting bit of Tutsan plant info, states that this Hypericum’s leaves were apparently gathered and burned to ward off evil spirits on the eve of St. John’s Day. It has also been used since ancient times to treat wounds and inflammation. You can find it growing wild in damp woods and hedges, rambling around trees and other taller bushes. Tutsan comes from the French words “tout” (all) and “sain” (healthy), an apparent reference to the plant’s use as a healing compound.
Growing Tutsan Shrubs
Tutsan shrubs produce oval to oblong, 4-inch (10 cm.) long leaves of glossy green often adorned with rusty hues. Tutsan flowers are 5 petaled, golden yellow and star shaped with bushy yellow stamens. These give way to small round, red fruits that become black with age.
Flowers, seeds and leaves have a camphor-like odor when crushed or bruised. Tutsan seems to take to any soil type so long as it is well draining and any pH, even alkaline. It prefers shady to semi-shaded locations that mimic its natural positioning at the base of woods but can also thrive in sun.
Plant seeds in fall or take hardwood cuttings in summer.
Hypericum are hardy plants suitable for USDA plant hardiness zones 5 to 10. Keep this species moist but not boggy.
Rust is a common issue but it is relatively unbothered by insects and other disease. Cut the plant back hard in fall for better spring displays. In cold regions, apply a few inches (5 cm.) of mulch around cut plants to protect roots from freezes.
Other than that, Tutsan care is practically effortless. Enjoy the frilled golden blooms and bright berries as another performance winner and seasonal eye candy.
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Read more about St. John's Wort
Hypericum Species, Sweet Amber, Tutsan, St. John's Wort, St. Johnswort
|Family:||Hypericaceae (hy-PER-ee-KAY-see-ee) (Info)|
|Genus:||Hypericum (hy-PER-ee-kum) (Info)|
|Species:||androsaemum (an-dro-SEE-mum) (Info)|
Average Water Needs Water regularly do not overwater
USDA Zone 2a: to -45.5 °C (-50 °F)
USDA Zone 2b: to -42.7 °C (-45 °F)
USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 °C (-40 °F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 °C (-35 °F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 °C (-30 °F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 °C (-25 °F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 °C (-20 °F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 °C (-15 °F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 °C (-10 °F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 °C (-5 °F)
Where to Grow:
Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested
Soil pH requirements:
From semi-hardwood cuttings
From seed direct sow outdoors in fall
Allow pods to dry on plant break open to collect seeds
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed
This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:
Seattle, Washington(2 reports)
On Aug 26, 2012, Arden2 from Olympia, WA wrote:
Unsure of exact cultivar. ID'd from Google Images. Mine has bright chartreuse leaves, red berries turning to black in late August in W. WA. It has been civilized in my year. Gets water with the annuals.
On Feb 21, 2005, kennedyh from Churchill, Victoria,
Australia (Zone 10a) wrote:
This is an attractive looking plant both in flower and fruit, but it can become a problem weed. Here in south-eastern Australia, it has escaped into the wild and is a major weed along creek edges and in wet forests.
On May 2, 2002, Lilith from Durham,
United Kingdom (Zone 8a) wrote:
In the centre of each yellow flower of this shrub is a prominent tuft of long stamens. The berries turn to red, then purplish black. Corrupted from French, the common name means 'all wholesome' and the leaves were widely used to treat wounds.
Planting Saint John’s wort
What is recommended is to plant Saint John’s wort in fall to support root development.
But still, you can also plant in spring, as long as you water abundantly at the beginning and over the following summer if the weather is hot and dry.
In a container, you can also plant in spring or summer, provided you water regularly.
- Find a very sunny spot for it.
- Saint John’s wort can tolerate any type of soil, even poor soil.
- Place the plant somewhere you’ll notice its bloom, because all those yellow flowers will boost your mood!
- Refer to our guidelines for planting shrubs
Where to plant St. John’s Wort?
St. John’s wort can be invasive, so take great care where you plant it. It can easily get out of hand and choke out other beneficial plants and flowers. You probably don’t want this herb running crazy in your yard.
You may want to keep its growth constricted to containers, or at least plant it where it will be naturally contained by rocky borders, raised beds, or anywhere its tendency to spread won’t choke out other plants.
You may want to plant it somewhere out of the way, such as the outskirts of your property, as it does not have a sweet flower smell. St. John’s wort does not need frequent care, so it only needs to be as accessible for when you want to prune or harvest it.
How to Grow Hypericum Berries
Hypericum (Hypericum androsaemum), or Tutsan, is a variety of the St. John's Wort herb that is grown for its colorful berries. Depending on the variety of Hypericum, the berries may be peach-colored, red, brown or green. The berries are born at the end of long stems in mid-summer after the bloom period. Hypericum berries are popular in the florist trade, especially during the holiday and wedding seasons, because they hold on the stems and do not stain hands or fabrics. Hypericum is appropriate for growing in USDA Horticultural zones five through eight.
Find an area in the garden that is exposed to at least six hours of sunlight each day. Hypericum survives in less sun, but the berry production will be less. Expect to plant multiple plants 36 inches apart to provide good air circulation around the plants, especially in warm and more humid climates. Hypericum is very susceptible to mildew if conditions are warm and damp. The area should be well-drained because Hypericum should not sit for any length of time in boggy or wet conditions.
- Hypericum (Hypericum androsaemum), or Tutsan, is a variety of the St. John's Wort herb that is grown for its colorful berries.
- Hypericum berries are popular in the florist trade, especially during the holiday and wedding seasons, because they hold on the stems and do not stain hands or fabrics.
Clear the area of weeds and add a 1 inch layer of compost over the planting area. Gently work the compost into the planting area to a depth of 5 inches. Organic matter enriches the soil and helps the soil hold moisture.
Plant the Hypericum plants at the same depth as they are planted in their existing container. Add water while adding the soil back into the planting hole. This is done to avoid leaving any air pockets around the roots.
Add a one-inch layer of mulch around the base of the plants to conserve moisture and prevent weeds.
- Clear the area of weeds and add a 1 inch layer of compost over the planting area.
- Plant the Hypericum plants at the same depth as they are planted in their existing container.
Water the Hypericum deeply, if there is no rain, every seven days until established, which takes about three months. After that, water deeply if there is no appreciable rainfall for three weeks. Apply a standard garden fertilizer appropriate for shrubs in early spring when new growth appears.
Be sure you are buying Hypericum androsaemum if you are raising the plants for berries suitable for flower arranging. There are hundreds of different varieties of St. John's Wort, and most are not suitable for cutting.
Cut berries when the branch is full and most of the flowers have turned to berries. Leave the leaves intact on the stem. Place stem ends in a bucket of fresh water after cutting. Pull off any leaves below the water level so they cannot rot and contaminate the water.
Hypericum as a Garden Plant
Though most members of this genus are noxious weeds some species have had cultivars developed for use as an ornamental plant in gardens. Well Known Species include:
Hypericum androsaemum (Tutsan), this deciduous bushy shrub reaches about 3 feet (90 cm) in height and spread. It grows well in USA zones 5 to 9 UK Hardiness H5. It blooms in the summer with showy yellow flowers and is often used as an hedging plant in shady areas.
Hypericum calycinum (Rose of Sharon). Hardy in the US in Zones 5 to 10: UK H6. Small shrub to about 18 inches (45 cm) with a slightly larger spread to 24 inches (60 cm). Often used as groundcover and in areas with erosion. Bright yellow flowers in summer. Drought tolerant.
Hypericum Hidcote (St. John's wort ‘Hidcort’). Shrub of two to four feet (60 cm to 1.2 m). Golden saucer shaped flowers in the summer three inch (7.5 cm diameter. USA zones 5 to 9 UK Hardiness H5.
Are hypericum berries edible?
About Hypericum Berries Hypericum Berries come from a plant in the Hypericaceae family and is part of the genus Hypericum. It is most commonly known as tutsan or St. John's Wort and its scientific name is Hypericum androsaemum. This shrub is a perennial and usually grows to about 1.5 m in height.
Likewise, what does Hypericum look like? Cut hypericum start out as bright yellow, star-shaped flowers in midsummer and the berries only develop after the blooms fade away in late summer. The smooth, shiny berries, clustered on woody stems, come in an array of different colours from brown, green, white and ivory to red, pink, coral and peach.
One may also ask, are St John's wort berries poisonous to humans?
It is in the St. John's Wort family and though it is of use in herbal medicine, the berries are toxic and should most definitely not be consumed as a food stuff. There are, of course, many other poisonous berries, including the nightshades that are mentioned in the article on poisonous garden plants.
Which berries are poisonous UK?
- Yew (Taxus baccata) Yew trees are best avoided at all costs really.
- Black Bryony (Tamus communis)
- Deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna)
- Lords and ladies (Arum maculatum)
- Ivy (Hedera helix)
- Spindle (Euonymus europaeus)
- Holly (Ilex aquifolium)
- Woody nightshade of bittersweet (Solanum dulcamara)
For more info
- The plant should be fully and continuously suppressed and destroyed.
- Plants under 4 metres in height should be fully and continuously suppressed and destroyed.
- The spread of this plant should be adequately contained to prevent spread impacting on priority assets. Weed notices will only be issued for these weeds under special circumstances.
Tutsan blossom Photo © BMCC
Tutsan flower and foliage Photo © BMCC
Tutsan juvenile habit Photo © BMCC
Tutsan foliage and fruit capsule Photo © BMCC