Caryopteris x clandonensis: The blue wonder

Bartblume: Das blaue Wunder

Origin

The beard flower (Caryopteris x clandonensis) belongs to the verbenaceae family. It is a garden hybrid that developed in England in the 1930s from the two East Asian species Caryopteris incana and Caryopteris mongolica. There are a total of ten different species of bearded flowers, although most of them play no role in horticulture. Of the garden hybrids, several varieties such as ‘Kew Blue’ and ‘Arthus Simmonds’ are on the market, but the best known is ‘Heavenly Blue’.

Growth

At first sight the beard flower looks like a perennial. However, it is a so-called half-shrub because its shoot base is lignified. The plant grows to a height of about one metre and forms thin, upright shoots with a grey-felted coating that protects it from heat and drought damage.

Sheets

The opposite leaves become five to eight centimetres long. They have dark green tops and grey-green undersides, are narrowly ovate to lanceolate in shape and tapering to a point. They have an irregularly serrated edge and have a strikingly aromatic scent.

Flowers

The dark blue flowers develop in clusters in the leaf axils of the new shoots from the end of July to September. The seeds of the beard flower do not usually ripen in Central Europe because the growing season is too short.

Location and soil

The beard flower is somewhat sensitive to frost and therefore needs a warm and full sunny location, which should be somewhat protected. An ideal place is in front of a south-facing wall with protection from cold east winds. The soil should be moderately dry to fresh, slightly acidic to alkaline and not too heavy. The bearded flower is particularly susceptible to wetness in winter, so the soil should not become too damp in the winter months.

Use

The Beard Flower is especially versatile as a combination partner for perennials and roses and also cuts a fine figure in prairie gardens together with ornamental grasses. It is also suitable for rock gardens and, thanks to its long flowering period and its insensitivity to drought, it is also very suitable for pots and tubs on balconies and terraces. The nectar-rich flowers are often visited by bees and butterflies.

Beard flowers in the MEIN SCHÖNER GARTEN-Shop

Planting and maintenance

It is best to plant the Beard Flower in spring so that it is well rooted until the first winter. This will help it cope better with the low temperatures. If it is planted in February, after the strongest frosts have subsided, it is best to cut back all shoots to a hand’s breadth above the ground. Potted plants need a very permeable, mainly mineral substrate. They feel comfortable in citrus plant soil, for example.

Like most shrubs that are adapted to dry-hot locations, the Bearded Flower needs neither nutrients nor additional water. At best, it can be supplied with one litre of compost in spring for budding, which is distributed in the root area. Avoid fertilization at a later date, it can affect the winter hardiness of the semi-shrubs.

Cut

Like almost all low summer bloomers, the bearded flower is cut a hand’s breadth above the ground with garden shears in early spring. It will then produce particularly long, new shoots with many large flowers. If pruning is not carried out until March, the flowering time is postponed until August.

Winter protection

The beard flower is about as hardy as lavender. In a winegrowing climate, therefore, there are hardly any failures during frost, but in rougher climates outdoor plants should be covered with a layer of autumn leaves and fir brushwood as a precaution. As the shoot tips do not lignify, they freeze back every year – this is normal and no cause for concern. Beard flowers in pots are best placed in a wooden box, which is then padded with bark mulch or dry autumn leaves. Store the plants until spring in a place protected from rain and wind close to the house wall and water just enough to prevent the root ball from drying out.

Multiplication

Beard flowers can be propagated very well by cuttings. From June onwards, the lower ends of the already slightly lignified new shoots are used and placed in permeable, nutrient-poor growing soil.

Diseases and pests

Bearded flowers are largely immune to pests and diseases thanks to the essential oils in their foliage. If the location is too humid, root diseases can occasionally occur.

Profile

Growth type
  • Dwarf shrub
  • Semi-shrub
Growth height
from 80.00cm to 100.00cm
Growth width
from 80.00cm to 100.00cm
Growth characteristics
  • upright
Flowering time (month)
  • July to September
Flower characteristics
  • hermaphroditic
Leaf colour
  • green
  • silver grey
Sheet shape
  • lance-shaped
  • tapered
Sheet properties
  • fragrant
Type of soil
  • gravelly to sandy
Soil Moisture
  • dry to fresh
pH-value
  • alkaline to slightly acidic
Lime tolerance
  • lime-tolerant
Nutrient requirements
  • low in nutrients
Decorative or utility value
  • Flower arrangements
  • Scented plant
  • Nectar or pollen plant
Winter Hardness
  • conditionally hardy
Use
  • Flowerbeds
  • Borders
  • Garden fences
  • Group planting
  • Planters
  • Rose companion
  • Discounts
Garden style
  • Flower garden
  • Roof garden
  • Patio
  • Prairie Garden
  • Rose Garden
  • Rockery
  • Pot garden