Caryopteris is a small shrub that usually flowers in early fall, between mid-August and October. It’s an easy plant to cultivate because it is very resistant to cold, drought and diseases. The Caryopteris’ blooming, during which blue flowers appear, often attracts bees that use its pollen to produce very sweet honey that is very similar to lavender honey. This plant is often grown for decorating flower beds. 

Caryopteris is a perennial shrub of the Vervain family; some phylogenetic research placed it in the Lamiaceae family. Caryopteris is a plant native to the Far East and is commonly called blue mist shrub or blue beard. Caryopteris naturally takes the form of a rounded bush, growing to a height of about 2 feet and rarely exceeding 5 feet. Its branches are usually thin, slightly tinged with red at the ends, and bearing deciduous foliage. The caryopteris’ leaves are simple ovate and serrate, with an upper greyish-green surface. However, the reverse side is of very bright colour because it is covered with whitish fuzz. Caryopteris usually flowers in early autumn, from August to October, and produces pretty pale blue to deep blue flowers, sometimes of purple or even white colour depending on species. This plant is very easy to grow and does not require any specific maintenance other than a thorough annual pruning. Being highly resistant, Caryopteris easily withstands extreme temperatures; the hybrid species, for example, can withstand up to 5 ° F, while Caryopteris incana tolerates up to -4 ° F. However, the pure-bred species is much more fragile and sensitive to the cold, only tolerating temperatures around 40 ° F and hardly being able to withstand 15 ° F.

Tips for growing Caryopteris 

The Caryopteris plant is very easy to grow and readily accepts cohabitation with other perennials, shrubs and many dwarf conifers. You can decorate your garden by playing with different hues, by mixing caryopteris with fall daisies, roses or spirea with golden foliage, for example. You can plant Caryopteris from September until spring in May, but keeping in mind to avoid periods of frost. It is advisable to plant Caryopteris in depleted, light, stony and well-drained soil, even if it also tolerates limestone. If you have earth that is a little too heavy, do not hesitate to add a little sand or gravel to lighten it. When grown in a soil that is too rich in minerals, the plant may have a less abundant flowering. Also plan to set it in a sunny place because it loves the sun. It is advised to dig the ground approximately a foot in depth and make a 4 to 6 inch hole. Then, place the lump with the neck at ground level and cover it with earth and some potting soil. Afterwards, pack the ground lightly and water. It is important to provide good spacing if you wish to plant several Caryopteris seedlings. A 20-inch distance is enough for a hedge, while 40 inches are sufficient for flower beds. You can feed it with rose fertilizer after its annual pruning. Caryopteris usually takes two years to bloom after being planted. Its growth is relatively fast; after the first year it will produce a clump about 24 inches thick and will reach adulthood after 5 years. Caryopteris proliferation is done annually by the taking of cuttings in the summer and by sowing in spring.

Growing and maintaining Caryopteris 

To grow Caryopteris in the best possible manner, it is highly advised to prune it severely and mulch it every year. Using clippers, trim the branches to about 1 / 3 of their original length. Remove the entire aerial part located at least 2 inches from the stump. Then, cut the buds located near the woody stump; it is also important to trim the branches, as the bush can become extremely dense. There are several ways to perform an annual pruning, but it depends how you want to make your plant evolve. If you grow it in a warm place, it is more appropriate to make a spring pruning at ground level. This will allow the plant to grow faster while helping the bush keep a more compact appearance. If you wish to let the plant grow at its normal pace, it’s better to prune just after flowering. For regions of very low temperatures, carry out this procedure in autumn to better protect the stump; this will help the plant withstand the freezing period. Although Caryopteris does not need soil that is too rich in minerals, it is particularly recommended to provide it with a little rose fertilizer after being pruned, which will make it even stronger. Caryopteris is a very hardy plant that is very resistant to many diseases and predators.

No related posts.

Published in Flowering shrubs by Alexander on 04 Jul 2011