Hypericum × inodorum 'Elstead'

Common Name: St. John's wort 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Hypericaceae
Zone: 6 to 9
Height: 3.00 to 5.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 5.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to September
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Fragrant
Fruit: Showy


Easily grown in moist but well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Tolerates full shade. Tolerates moist soils, but is intolerant of wet ones. Plants develop extensive root systems. Plants benefit from a thick root mulch in cold winter climates. This hybrid will self-seed in the garden, but not aggressively.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Hypericum × inodorum is a fertile, hybrid, semi-evergreen shrub in which H. androsaemum was hybridized with H. hircinum. Hybrid plants generally grow to 3-5’ tall. They are noted for their beautiful foliage, showy flowers and decorative berries. Stalkless, ovate, opposite leaves (to 2” long) are aromatic when crushed. One-inch buttercup-yellow flowers in branched clusters bloom mid to late summer (July-September). Flowers differ from H. androsaemum in having petals conspicuously longer than the sepals and styles and from H. hircinum by having sepals that are persistent into the fruiting stage. Flowers are followed by showy coral pink fruits. The hybrid × inodorum as well as parent H. androsaemum differs from most other species in the genus by having fleshy, berry-like fruits rather than dry, dehiscent capsules. A number of × inodorum cultivars have been produced which primarily differ from each other in plant habit and fruit color.

Genus name comes from the Greek words hyper meaning above and eikon meaning picture in reference to the practice of hanging flowers from this genus above images, pictures or windows.

Hybrid name comes from the Latin word inodorus meaning "unscented" or "lacking fragrance".

‘Elstead’ plants grow to 4’ tall and to 5’ wide and feature (1) oval opposite leaves, (2) buttercup yellow flowers with a center boss of bushy yellow stamens, (3) elongated fleshy berry-like fruits emerging creamy white but maturing to pink and finally to near red, and (4) arching branches with red stems and smooth texture. Flowers come in waves over a two month span, so berries are often seen in different colors on the shrub from late summer into fall because they are at different stages of development.


No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for rust. Powdery mildew may occur.


Borders. Rock gardens. Hedge.