THE CASE FOR CARYOPTERIS
With the nights drawing in and trees and shrubs starting to show autumnal hues it’s good to have some plants still flowering to extend the show for as long as possible. Caryopteris, prized for their long season, are fantastic for this as they flower from August well in to October and combine well with grasses and other late flowerers such as Sedums, Echinacea and Agastache.
One of my favourites is C. incana ‘Jason’ syn. Sunshine Blue which has bright golden-yellow foliage in spring with amethyst blue flowers in late summer and autumn when the leaves have aged to a greener yellow; like other Caryopteris it is attractive to bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects. Another top variety is C x clandonensis ‘Heavenly Blue’ which has wonderful lavender scented silvery grey foliage which complements its clusters of dark blue flowers beautifully and makes an compact arching shrub around 1m tall.
C. ‘Summer Sorbet’ also has outstanding foliage this one has green and gold variegation which holds is colour well throughout the season, contrasting well with the pale blue flowers produced from late summer to autumn. Caryopteris flower best in a sunny position in well-drained soil. This also produces the best fragrance in the foliage.
Plants can be cut back in spring; I leave two or three buds above ground level. The plant will then produce new shoots which will carry that season’s flowers at the end of the summer.
Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘Heavenly Blue’