Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Bluebeard, California Lilac, Autumn Blue Spiraea
Caryopteris incana 'Sunshine Blue'

Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Caryopteris (kar-ee-OP-ter-iss) (Info)
Species: incana (in-KAN-nuh) (Info)
Cultivar: Sunshine Blue
Additional cultivar information: (aka Jason)

6 vendors have this plant for sale.

9 members have or want this plant for trade.

View this plant in a garden


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Medium Blue

Bloom Time:
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From softwood cuttings
From semi-hardwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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By DreamOfSpring
Thumbnail #1 of Caryopteris incana by DreamOfSpring

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There are a total of 18 photos.
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4 positives
3 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive tepelus On Jun 27, 2014, tepelus from Nashville, MI (Zone 6a) wrote:

Reseeds readily and a good thing! After our brutal winter the original plant died completely, but five of her most robust seedlings, buried completely under the snow (momma was exposed to -24 degree weather with little snow cover due to drifting snow where she was planted) survived and I will move them now that they are big enough to survive transplanting. More seedlings are popping up and I will let a few stay just in case these other ones don't survive the winter if it is as harsh as the last. The original plant grew quite happily for four years before this winter killed it. Beautiful plant and the bees go crazy for the flowers. The foliage scent reminds me a little of lemon Pledge.

Neutral freewill222 On Apr 23, 2014, freewill222 from Nashville, TN wrote:

I bought the "Lil' Miss Sunshine" variety of the Caryopteris at 75% off on the back lot of a reputable nursery at the end of last summer/beginning of fall. It had few leaves and was a bit pitiful, but once planted in my garden, flowered prolifically until the first frost despite having almost no leaves. I was impressed with stamina of the lovely purplish-blue flowers which attracted many bumble bee pollinators despite being a practically discarded plant at the nursery. I was very pleased to find it sprouting beautiful yellow leaves this spring after a particularly long and cold winter here in Nashville (zone 6b/7). It is planted in an extremely sunny site in compost amended clay soil. Suddenly (literally overnight!) the majority of the leaves look withered and burned! Nashville can get very hot and humid during the summer, but it has not gotten particularly hot yet (on the worst day maybe low 80's but mostly 60's and 70's). The new foliage at the base of the plant (more protected from the sun I suppose) is still blooming beautifully in it's yellow splendor. I do not understand why a plant that is supposed to prefer hot, dry conditions with full sun would suddenly turn brown as if burned. I know the soil is not dry and sandy, but it is relatively loamy with its amendments. This recent turn of events was so sudden, it is hard to imagine that it would be a soil problem anyway. I am thinking that I should try to replant it in a location that receives less afternoon sun, but I am wondering if anyone else has had trouble with this plant burning? The plant seemed like it was going to be a real winner, but I am a bit confounded about this recent turn of events. If anyone has any thoughts, knowledge, or suggestions, please respond to this or to my email ( I hope this section permits replies. Thanks so much!

Neutral cntryrocks On May 12, 2011, cntryrocks from Princeton, KS wrote:

I have this plant growing in a bed on the northeast side of my house. It must love it there, because it grows and grows some more. I planted it 2 years ago and it is atleast 4 x 4. Next spring I am going to cut it to the ground. It has outgrown it's space. I do love it though, it is very pretty. I need to move a new one that came up from a seed (about 10 ft. from the other one) !

Positive lovemyhouse On Nov 7, 2010, lovemyhouse from (Debra) Garland, TX wrote:

Have this one in the hottest, driest, heaviest clay-soil bed in my yard. Curbside, no less. The foliage stays mostly green and it does wilt without at least occasional supplemental water. After three years in the ground, though, it flowers up just fine. The bees love it. I prefer Summer Sorbet, but Sunshine Blue is "growing" on me. :-)

Negative msfeatherflower On Nov 15, 2009, msfeatherflower from Sugar Land, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Not as tenacious for me, a master gardener so I know how to grow. Bought this plant from mail order to grow it in Houston, Texas area. Couldn't handle the summer heat or drought or both. Died quickly in the middle of the summer. Big disappointment.

Positive ShrubSource On Mar 26, 2009, ShrubSource from Zeeland, MI wrote:

Caryopteris - Sunshine Blue Bluebeard

Forget about growing other yellow-leaf Caryopteris varieties: Sunshine Blue is the standard for gold-leaf bluebeard, and that's just the leaves! This variety of Caryopteris is larger, more woody, and hardier than the typical. Stronger growing than 'Worcester Gold', it also has larger, brighter yellow foliage. Sunshine Blue has rich blue appealing flowers that overwhelm the pale blue blooms of other cultivars. The flowers and foliage have a pleasant scent, and may be cut for use in arrangements. It is a great contrast plant that will add season long color to the garden, looks stunning next to dark green plants. Bluebeard is a useful plant in the landscape, especially for drier conditions. Use it in perennial beds, mixed borders, or as a mass planting in dry, sunny areas. Dies back to the ground in the northern states (roots are hardy).

Neutral berrygirl On Mar 17, 2007, berrygirl from Braselton, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

Caryopteris 'Sunshine Blue' BLUE MIST SHRUB Dec (z6)
What a combination!: deep amethyst-blue flowers on a background of sunny-yel leaves; a rounded 3'eye-catcher for border or accent.S/M PPAF

Positive DreamOfSpring On Mar 7, 2007, DreamOfSpring from Charleston, SC (Zone 9a) wrote:

I can certainly vouch for the tenacity of of this plant. I have ignored and abused mine in every conceivable way. If it were possible to kill it, mine would be dead. According to the literature this plant does best is sunshine and in a cool environment. I gave it neigher. For 2 years mine has sat in a 6" pot at the back of my North facing patio and behind a bunch of larger plants where a 2story house kept it in shade all day. Despite our punishing summer heat (Charleston, SC, Zone8b), it subsisted on rainwater in a parched pot that was dry more often than not. This winter it sat in the middle of the garden, exposed to the elements, its pot subjected to overnight temps as low as 28F. I can't remember ever having fertilized it. Mine doesn't look great, but despite all that abuse it is alive and starting to leaf out again for spring and last summer and fall it actually bloomed. I'm looking forward to seeing what it can do with just a little care.

Also, I kept mine in partial sun the 1st summer. In good light the leaves were a bright yellow-chartreuse. When kept in shade the petioles lengthened and the leaves became a light apple green.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Susanville, California
Oxford, Connecticut
Washington, Illinois
Hobart, Indiana
Princeton, Kansas
Hebron, Kentucky
Easton, Maryland
Norton, Massachusetts
Nashville, Michigan
Hillsboro, Missouri
Troy, New Hampshire
Harrod, Ohio
Eugene, Oregon
Emmaus, Pennsylvania
Irwin, Pennsylvania
New Freedom, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Waverly, Pennsylvania
Whitehall, Pennsylvania
Garland, Texas
Lexington, Virginia
East Port Orchard, Washington
Vancouver, Washington
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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