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Last updated on January 21st, 2020
The hypericum is one of about 400 plants only a handful of which are grown in the UK but in this post, we are going to focus on the Hidcote variety as its easily the most popular. Hypericum hidcote is one of the most common you will see in gardens large and small. It manifests in the form of yellow flowers between July and August. As an evergreen it will form a beautiful dome-shaped shrub during the winter what you can care for easily as is requires very little maintenance but does benefit from a light pruning once a year.
|Hardiness||Very hardy in all parts of the UK|
|Soil||Moist well-drained soil, will survive in sandy soil too|
|Sun||Partial shade, full sun and even full shade|
|Eventual size||1.5m x 1.5m|
|Maintenance||Easy to care for|
|Containers||Can be grown in containers but requires pruning to control size and shape.|
|Flowering time||July through to September, great for bees|
Growing hypericum hidcote
When you are growing the hypericum hidcote, you need to make sure that you do some due diligence ahead of time verifying whether or not your garden is an appropriate companion. These plants will reach approximately 1.5 m in height and in width so they need a fair bit of space to grow. They have green leaves that might drop during the hardest of winters only and come July they produce an abundance of medium-sized yellow saucer-shaped flowers that remain in effect until the middle of August so they have a good flowering time offering plenty of colour.
Where to plant
They do best in partial shade but they can tolerate full shade or full sun depending on the garden which means it perfect for most gardens. They will grow well in nearly every type of soil but you want to avoid having a highly acidic or highly alkaline soil. Once the plant is established there is very little you have to do to tend to it. Annual pruning can help maintain a proper shape but it’s not essential, perhaps only to control the size and maybe encourage more flowers. These plants are very strong and will survive the cold UK winters in most areas, even in colder parts if Scotland where they get the worst weather and heavier snow over winter.
Although they are very easy to grow, there are a few problems that you might encounter but there are some remedies.
When you are ready to plant, choose a position that has partial shade if at all possible. Why all the Evergreen is very adaptable, it is still recommended that you test the soil to verify whether you have highly alkaline or highly acidic conditions such that you provide yourself with ample time to rectify the situation before planting. That being said if you grow a good mix of other shrubs in your garden then Hypericum will almost certainly thrive in your garden.
When to plant
As mentioned the plant can get up to 1.5 m in height and width and will grow very quickly, amassing 40 centimetres in both directions every year. You can plant it at any time of the year so long as your soil is obviously not frozen but the best time to plant is between the middle of March and April or the middle of September and October just before plants start going dormant for the winter but the ground is still warm which encourage new root growth ready for the following season.
Dig a hole that is twice the size of the root ball in width. Place the plant into the hole and fill it with soil until the point that the soil is at the same depth as it was in the pot. Gently press down around the root ball and water it well. It helps to add a little bone meal when planting to help encourage root growth and water well, they will start to shrivel if not watered at these early stages.
A very well-established plant will take care of itself and will require very little from you in terms of care and maintenance once established. You will not have to feed it unless you have very poor nutrient conditions in your existing soil. You also won’t have to water unless you are facing extreme drought. Realistically the only care you have to provide is an annual prune to control the size.
If you have a younger plant, one that is barely two years old, be diligent about watering in the event that conditions become dry and give it a bit of and feeding in the spring and Autumn to help it establish strong roots.
How and when to prune hypericum hidcote
The flowers are produced on stems which don’t yet have buds so it is recommended that when you go to prune you do it at the beginning of Spring, typically in March. By choosing this time of the year you will produce flowers about a week or so later than it normally would which also means it flowers a few weeks later into the Autumn.
The method you use for pruning is very simple. Take your sharpest gardening shears and be sure to sanitize them to remove any bacteria and avoid transferring diseases. Cut the plant to shape. It is quite literally as simple as that. Established plants will grow rapidly after they have been pruned so feel free to prune slightly more than you think is necessary. You can even cut your plant down to just a meter or so in height and width and it will bounce back effectively.
If you are going to propagate, the method is simple. In the springtime remove some cuttings that are of medium strength and cut back all the pairs of leaves except for one. Take small containers of approximately 8 centimeters in width and place the cuttings into the containers. Set them in a tray of water for about 20 minutes to properly absorb all the way through the soil and then cover them with clear wrap, securing it in place to create a tiny Greenhouse. You want to be sure that the plastic you use is not actually touching any of the plants.
After about 2 or 3 weeks the root system will have developed strong enough that you can transplant into the garden or larger pots, we would recommend growing them in pots for the first year until they are properly rooted. After you plant in the springtime be sure to properly water after the initial planting. As a younger newly propagated plants you can always add some feed to strengthen the root system as well.
These plants are very strong and will withstand temperatures of -12C in the UK Winters but if temperatures fall below that and stay there for several days your leaves might turn brown. This type of frost damage is not nearly as severe as it might seem. After a few weeks, your plant will regain its strength and bounce back. Beyond that, the plant is not really susceptible to any common pests or diseases.