An Easy Care Perennial for Heat and Drought.
March 29, 2009
Allan in Perennial Plants, caryopteris, drought tolerant, flowers, heat tolerant, perennial

The close up of the flower Caryopteris "Dark Night" is from North Creek Nurseries. Click on the image to visit their site.Caryopteris is a little known and under-utilized plant that is essential to gardens where summers are hot and dry. This compact border plant is considered a small shrub but performs amazingly well as a perennial. The cultivar "Dark Night", shown on the right, grows 30 inches wide and tall. Its grey-green foliage is covered in late summer with hundreds of 12 inch intensely blue flower spikes at a time when other richly colored perennials have begun to wane. This remarkable, heat tolerant plant is said to grow in Zones 5 to 8 in a dry sunny location. Yet, it is not available in some areas that are labeled zone 5.

Because all of its flowers are produced on new wood, it is recommended that the plant be cut down in autumn along with other perennials. This will force the plant to produce new flower-bearing shoots the following season. However, fertilize this plant sparingly as over-feeding will produce rampant growth with few flowers. Beware! The rampant growth is not easy to pull out.

This is a very impressive easy-care plant that will thrive in spite of neglect. Buy more than one plant because when you see it perform in late summer, you will regret not having purchased more. And by that time, it may be too late to find them at the nurseries.

Article originally appeared on Garden Design, Montreal, Perennial Flower Gardens, Gardening Tips, Gardening Advice, Gardening Book Reviews (http://allanbecker-gardenguru.squarespace.com/).
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