Caryopterises or bluebeards are low-growing, compact deciduous shrubs producing clusters of intense dark blue flowers and aromatic leaves subtly tinged with silver on the underside. Native to dry and warm mountains slopes found in East Asia, these robust and drought tolerant late summer/early autumn flowering woody perennials will bring structure and interest to any size garden. Especially popular amongst beekeepers, they will attract a myriad of pollinating insects and will fill the air with a distinctive fragrance reminiscent of lavender and anise. They are great companions for agastaches, echinaceas or rudbeckias.
Plant in full sun in fertile well-drained soil, preferably enriched with a little organic matter. Water new plants steadily until they are fully established, then water occasionally. In early to mid-spring, cut back hard to encourage healthy growth and improve shape, flower quality and production.
Always unpack on arrival and store in a cool place until ready to plant.
Problems, pests and diseases:
Caryopterises do not usually suffer from any serious diseases. However, they may be affected by:
Capsid bugs:these sap-eating insects emit a toxic saliva that eventually causes the plant tissues to die. Leaves are peppered with small holes and often grow distorted. In some cases, flowers may not develop correctly and buds may fail. Dispose of any deceased plant material and debris in winter to prevent issues in spring and summer.