My personal favourite for many reasons, they have fragrant foliage, blue flowers in late Summer, very attractive to bees and insects, easy to grow etc. A genus of deciduous plants with both shrubs and perennials and they are commonly known as the Blue Beard due to the shape of the flowers.
There are two species widely available in the UK, C. x clandonensis and C. incana. Both species have many varieties within them which have different attributes, mainly leaf colour and different shades of blue in the flowers. My favourite of these are:
Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘Arthur Simmonds’
Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘White Surprise’ PBR
And last but definitely not least is:
Caryopteris incana ‘Sunshine Blue’ (Jason)
C. incana ‘Sunshine Blue’ was found on the nursery by my father, Peter Champion in 1996, it remains the only yellow sport from the incana species and is an absolutely cracking plant. Sunshine Blue has been on sale throughout the world for over 10 years now with it being most popular in the UK and the United States where it is more commonly known by its registered name Jason (after me!). The incana species (and its varieties/cultivars) are hardier than x clandonensis and have more of a compact habit.
Other less common species
In 2013 I was lucky enough to take on the national collection of Caryopteris from Bristol Zoo, although the collection is not currently registered all the plants are growing on happily at our nursery and I am in the process of building the varieties up in numbers and also trialing new selections from seed.
Within this collection there are some very unusual and rare plants, the pick of these are:
C. x clandonensis Pink lady – A hardy form which has very pale pink flowers, fading to white. (Picture to follow)
C. forestii – A very rare plant indeed with a much later flowering time and pale yellow flowers!
C. divaricata – A herbaceous form with very smelly leaves, flowers are similar to a mix between Salvia and Foxglove. (Picture to follow)