Bluebeard (Caryopteris) – The Complete Guide

To sweeten the farewell to the summer festival of flowers in the garden, the bluebeard gives us a gift of bright blue, delicately fragrant flowers in autumn.

For the picturesque ornamental shrub to take over the blossom scepter at the end of the garden season without any fuss, it only requires a little care. Find out here all the important details about proper cultivation.

Care Tips

To enjoy the autumnal blossom magic of a bluebeard it requires the following care measures:

  • Water the ornamental plant moderately when the soil has dried out.
  • Fertilize organically with compost and horn shavings or with liquid rose fertilizer in a pot.
  • Clean out withered flowers for a neat appearance.
  • Prune back to 6 inches (15 cm) in early spring.

A thick layer of leaves or compost aims to protect the root ball from frost and moisture in winter. In the tub, the bluebeard should relocate to frost-free, not too dark winter quarters.

Which Location is Suitable for Bluebeard?

Preferably, the bluebeard likes to flirt with the sun all day. The sunnier and warmer the location, the more magnificent the flower bloom, surrounded by a seductive fragrance.

The ideal location is completed by humic, sandy-loamy soil, which should not be too moist.

The Right Planting Distance for Bluebeards

Arrange these ornamental shrubs with 1 to 2 specimens per ft. To plant a larger area with bluebeards, we recommend a density of 4-6 plants per 10 sqft.

The lower the expected final height and width, the smaller the distance from the neighboring plant.

What Soil Does Bluebeard Need?

The bluebeard feels at home in loose, humus-rich, and well-drained soil. The highest premise for vital growth and lush flowering is a soil without waterlogging.

The flowering shrub copes much better with dry soil in a gravel bed, on the roof garden or in the heather garden than with permanently moist substrate near water.

What is the Best Planting Time for Bluebeards?

For young plants in containers, planting time is throughout the growing season.

If you plant bluebeards between mid-May and mid-September, neither a late frost nor an early onset of winter can damage the ornamental plant.

During summer heat spells, on the other hand, refrain from planting.

When is Flowering Time for Bluebeard?

The bluebeard delights us with its blooming splendor when numerous flowers and perennials are already preparing for winter.

If you want a lush display of color from August to October, this ornamental shrub is a perfect choice. Clean out wilted blooms promptly, and a rebloom will follow on its heels.

Pruning Bluebeard Properly

A spirited pruning will be rewarded with opulent blooms and a bushy, compact branching habit.

Since the ornamental shrub blooms exclusively on this year’s growth, you should not be squeamish when using garden shears.

If the frost retreats in early spring, it is the best time to prune bluebeards. Here’s how to do it right:

  • Cut back all healthy shoots to 6 inches (15 cm).
  • Cut dead wood and frostbitten branches at the base.

If you cut off wilted flowers regularly in late summer, the blooming period will extend until the first frost. The last sprout lingers on the shrub until February for additional winter protection.

Watering Bluebeard

The bluebeard favors an alternately moist substrate with intermittent drying periods. Water the ornamental shrub only when the soil surface has dried out well.

Experience has shown that watering is needed more frequently in a container than in a bed.

It is advantageous to water directly to the roots, as overhead watering detracts from the beauty of the flowers.

Fertilizing Bluebeard

The nutrient requirements of bluebeards are at a low level. Fertilize the plant in the spring after pruning with compost and horn shavings as a starter fertilizer.

Repeat this process monthly until the end of the flowering period, and the ornamental shrub will be satisfied.

In the narrowly limited substrate volume of a tub, the energy reserves are used up faster. Therefore, fertilize the plant in pot culture every 2 weeks with liquid rose fertilizer in diluted concentration.

Overwintering Bluebeard

Since the bluebeard tolerates frost to 5 °F (-15 °C) only for a short time, the plant usually freezes back to the lignification or even close to the ground.

Since the flowering shrub should be cut back vigorously in early spring anyway and sprouts vitality again, this feature does not require any special precautions.

Nevertheless, winter protection is advisable so that the root zone is not affected. Here’s how to do it right:

  • Do not cut the bluebeard in the bed before winter.
  • Mound the tree disk thickly with leaf soil, brushwood, or peat dust.

Cultivated in a tub, the frost-sensitive ornamental shrub should relocate in time to cool winter quarters.

At temperatures between 32 and 41 °F (0 and 5 °C), water the plant only enough so that the root ball does not dry out. Do not fertilize the bluebeard in this phase.

Propagating Bluebeards

In terms of propagation, the bluebeard proves to be a little tricky. Even the propagation by cuttings takes 2 to 3 years.

Cut half-woody shoot tips in June/July with a length of 4-6 inches (10-15 cm). Defoliate the lower parts and place each cutting in a small pot with lean substrate and water them regularly.

At 60 to 65 °F (16 to 18 °C) on a semi-shaded windowsill, repot the young bluebeards repeatedly until they are mature for planting out in the bed.

If you grow new specimens by sowing seeds, expect an even longer time to pass before the first flowering. Sown behind glass and maintained at a constant 65 to 68 °F (18 to 20 °C) after germination at 59 to 63 °F (15 to 17 °C), it requires 5 years of patience until the first flowering.

Bluebeard in a Pot

On a sunny balcony, the bluebeard in a pot sets autumnal accents if it is treated to a high-quality, structurally stable tub plant substrate.

Drainage of clay shards prevents damaging waterlogging at the bottom of the pot. Check the soil every 2-3 days by thumb test to water in case of dryness.

We recommend a liquid rose fertilizer to provide nutrients. Clean out wilted blossoms regularly so that the bluebeard always looks as good as new.

In time for the first frost, cut back the shoots to 6 inches (15 cm) and move the potted plant into frost-free, bright winter quarters.

Beautiful Varieties

  • Blue Sparrow: A compact growing variety that captivates with dark blue flowers in late summer. The height of growth is 24-28 inches (60-70 cm).
  • Heavenly Blue: the primus among bluebeards thanks to its bright blue flowers and proud stature. the growth height is 32-40 inches (80-100 cm).
  • Summer Sorbet: This variety offers light blue flowers that are decoratively accompanied by yellow edged foliage. The height of growth is 28-32 inches (70-80 cm).
  • Symphony in Blue: This variety lives up to its name. It makes a beautiful rose companion. The growth height is 20-32 inches (50-80 cm).
  • Arthur Simmons: A premium variety with dark lavender-blue flowers and silvery branches. The growth height is 32- 48 inches (80-120 cm).