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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Monday - April 14, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Deer Resistant
Title: Recommendation for variety of St. Johnswort (Hypericum spp.)
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi. Can you please recommend a variety of St. Johnswort for my yard in the Texas Hill Country? The planting bed is on a southern side of the house, and is shielded from afternoon sun by a tree. The area is heavily browsed by deer. I have one St. Johnswort planted there which the deer do not eat, but don't know the variety. It is 2' tall with thin, woody stems and a somewhat informal growth habit. Also, it manages with no watering other than our standard rainfall. Thanks for any help you can offer.

ANSWER:

Probably the most common St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum)—the one that has been used extensively as an herbal medicine—is native to Europe. Since our focus and expertise here at the Wildflower Center is with plants native to North America, we can't really give you recommendations about non-native plants. We suggest you to talk to someone at a trusted local nursery about varieties of non-natives that do well locally. You can find a list of nurseries in the Austin area that sell native plants as well as non-native plants.

On the other hand, there are several native species of Hypericum that are native to Texas and commercially available—e.g., Hypericum prolificum (shrubby St. Johnswort) and Hypericum hypericoides ssp. hypericoides (St. Andrew's cross). H. prolificum is on several lists for deer resistant plants (e.g., Deer Tolerant/Resistant Native Plants from Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve in Pennsylvania) and Hypericum spp., in general, are listed on many deer resistant lists.


Hypericum prolificum

Hypericum hypericoides ssp. hypericoides

 

 

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