St. Johnswort (Hypericum perfoliatum )

Market Products: (herb); (herb); Market size: 2,400 hectares (world), 800 ha (North America) Prospects: prices down, volume down

Culture Seed density: 7,000-10,000 seeds/gram Exposure: full sun Soil: well-drained, dry, pH 6-7 Crop duration: 2-3 years

Sowing rate: 1-1.5kg/ha (direct), 0.1-0.5kg/ha (indirect). Planting: direct sowing has been tried with success, but seedlings are slow to establish and weed control is a problem. Sow direct in field in spring. Or, sow indirect in plugs 8 weeks before field planting. Field spacing: 20-90cm between rows x 20-30cm within rows. Yield: 1000-1200kg/ha (years 2-3). Pests: chrysolina beetle, nematode Diseases: colletotrichum anthracnose. Chrysolina beetle has become a serious problem is some areas after several years of cultivation. Serious anthracnose damage has been reported in areas where St. Johnswort has been cultivated for several years. There is evidence of a correlation between chrysolina infestation and anthracnose. Buyers want: minimum 0.3% hypericin, maximum 5-8% ash, 2% foreign matter, 10% loss on drying.

Sowing rate: 2g/1000plants. Planting: sow in plugs 10-12 weeks prior to sale. anthracnose disease (reddening of foliage and dieback) is a serious problem in plug production; avoid overwatering and watering late in day. Anthracnose spreads by unknown vector; may be insect or splashing water. Seeds to finished plugs: 8 weeks. Plugs to saleable plants: 2-4 weeks. Pests: whitefly, spider mite Diseases: colletotrichum anthracnose.