The Creeping St. John’s Wort (Hypericum Reptans) Care Guide


The Creeping St. John’s Wort, otherwise known as the Hypericum Reptans or Japanese Holly ‘Brass Buckle’, Brass Buckle Japanese Holly, Boxleaf Holly ‘Brass Buckle’, Box-leaved Holly ‘Brass Buckle’, Ilex crenata ‘ANNYS1’ PP26997, is a rather well known shrub plant by gardening enthusiasts around the world.

Best known for its low maintenance and moderate growth, this shrub will likely liven up your house (or garden) with its green colored leaves. But, only if you learn how to take proper care of it for it to thrive.

Fortunately, taking care of your Creeping St. John’s Wort is not too difficult – as long as you follow our guidelines in this Creeping St. John’s Wort Care Guide. Now let’s get started.

In order to take proper care of your Creeping St. John’s Wort you’ll need to keep in mind the following guidelines:

  • Water: The Creeping St. John’s Wort grows best with watering each week. Increase the frequency of watering when it gets hot.
  • Light: Keep your Hypericum Reptans in an environment where it can receive full sun on a daily basis. 
  • Soil: Make sure to keep the Creeping St. John’s Wort in soil with moist but well-draining to well draining properties, so ideally, one that is made of clay, loam, chalk, and sand.

And as with many other plants, these are the only three care factors you need to remember to make sure your Creeping St. John’s Wort is, for the most part, healthy and well to survive.

Hypericum reptans flowers

Scientific / Botanical Aspects

In botanical terms, the Creeping St. John’s Wort belongs to the Aquifoliaceae family, the genus Ilex and the species Crenata, hence its scientific (or botanical) name Hypericum Reptans (hi-PER-i-kum REP-tanz).

As with other Ilex’s, the Creeping St. John’s Wort is a deciduous plant, which means it will shed its leaves annually once autumn comes.

Growing Region

The Creeping St. John’s Wort is a plant native to the E. Nepal to Temp. E. Asia.

As a rule of thumb, we recommend to always keep in mind your plants’ native region and environment, since these are the conditions that your Creeping St. John’s Wort is most accustomed to, thus where it can most favorably.

With this in mind, the Hypericum Reptans will be most used to the heat zones in the 5 – 7 region, as the plant hardiness level falls between 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a and the ideal climate zone is between 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24.

Growth and Size

Growth

In terms of size and growth, the Creeping St. John’s Wort is a relatively moderate grower, which makes things somewhat easy for any plant enthusiast.

Size

But, how big does the Creeping St. John’s Wort actually get? What should you expect in terms of size? Let’s dive right in…

The Hypericum Reptans can grow up to 1′ – 2′ (30cm – 60cm) in 1′ – 2′ (30cm – 60cm) and 1′ – 2′ (30cm – 60cm) in 1′ – 2′ (30cm – 60cm). 

These dimensions make the Creeping St. John’s Wort a relatively medium shrub compared to others, so it’s best to keep this fact in mind since it will affect where you want to keep yours at home.

This is why experts recommend keeping an area of approximately 18″ – 36″ (45cm – 90cm) free so the Creeping St. John’s Wort can spread to its best extent.

Water

In terms of watering, the Creeping St. John’s Wort is a fairly simple plant to take care of.

This is mostly because it has a straightforward watering schedule and somewhat regular watering needs.

Specifically, most experts agree that the Hypericum Reptans grows best with watering each week. Increase the frequency of watering when it gets hot.

Which is why it is considered a plant with relatively average needs in terms of water. 

Hypericum reptans care

Watering

As a rule of thumb, you should remember to keep your Creeping St. John’s Wort in soil with moist but well-draining to well draining characteristics, as these will guarantee the right conditions for your plant to grow and thrive. 

When you consider this, this is why you should aim to choose soil that has good drainage, and occasionally wet properties to keep the right moisture levels at all times. 

But, if you want a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution to watering your Creeping St. John’s Wort then you should consider the famous ‘finger’ test. To perform this test, you just need to put your finger in your plant’s soil and determine if it’s moist or not. If it is, then don’t water; if it isn’t, then please do. In any case, this test will allow you to know if your Creeping St. John’s Wort needs or does not need water, every time.

Soil Mix

As mentioned earlier, the Creeping St. John’s Wort prefers to have soil with good drainage, and occasionally wet properties at all times, reason why you need to make the soil mix out of clay, loam, chalk, and sand.

This is why most experts agree that the Creeping St. John’s Wort requires soil with clay, loam (silt), and sand, which will give you the right conditions it needs.

In addition to this, expert gardeners recommend having preferably alkaline, acid or neutral soil.

Light and Exposure

In terms of light & exposure, the Creeping St. John’s Wort requires full sun in order for it to thrive under the right conditions. 

Most experts agree that this shrub will do well as long as you keep it in partial to full sun, and it will be able to grow properly.

Specifically, we recommend that you place your Hypericum Reptans in little to partial shade (only 2-6 hours of direct sunlight a day), to full and direct sun (more 6 hours of direct sunlight per day).

Season

Being a deciduous plant, the Creeping St. John’s Wort will shed its leaves annually once autumn comes.

But, you can expect it to have its ‘prime-time’ during the spring (early, mid, late), the summer (early, mid, late), the fall, and during the winter.

Flowers

You can expect your Creeping St. John’s Wort to flower around the spring months from April to June (spring).

In particular, this shrub is well known for its flowers for cutting and showy flowers around the plant enthusiast community.

The Creeping St. John’s Wort produces some beautiful yellow, or green and white flowers around this time of year.

Foliage

The leaves from the Creeping St. John’s Wort have a beautiful green color during most of the year.

In particular, they have a simple arrangement with a alternate organization in its leaves.

You can expect the leaves from your Hypericum Reptans to be around (1-3 inches) in size.

Hypericum reptans up close

Attracts, Tolerance and Resistance

The Creeping St. John’s Wort is well known for its tolerance to drought conditions, so don’t worry if any of these come along, your Hypericum Reptans will be fine.

Garden

Now, let’s talk garden and how your Creeping St. John’s Wort will look best in it.

Most Hypericum Reptans owners agree that this shrub will look great in most mediterranean gardens of all types. 

Other owners consider that they complement well most gardens of gravel and rock garden, city and courtyard, and in informal and cottage styles. 

In particular, the Creeping St. John’s Wort’s best location within your garden is in small gardens, beds and borders, patio and containers, and in wall-side borders, others use it for landscaping in a erosion control, cutting garden, or a rock garden.

Companion Plants

Creeping St. John’s Wort’s do well with some other plants beside it. One good companion plant is the Nerium oleander, which will pair up nicely with your leafy friend.

Others consider that a nice Callistemon citrinus will work well too, so choose whichever you find works best for you!

Conclusion

And we’ve come to an end. Fortunately, that’s everything you need to know about your Creeping St. John’s Wort to keep it safe and sound in your garden or home. Enjoy planting!

Martin Duran

Hey y'all! My name is Martin Duran and I am from Cali, Colombia. Since 2018 I have been learning about plants and how to take care of them. Here's is my journey... “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” ― John Muir

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