Bluebeard (Caryopteris X Clandonensis ‘White Surprise’)

Plant: Table of Contents

Bluebeard (Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘White Surprise’)

Bluebeard, scientifically known as Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘White Surprise’, is a stunning deciduous shrub that graces gardens with its elegant appearance and delightful blossoms. With its white-tinged leaves and abundant flowers, this cultivar of Caryopteris x clandonensis is a favorite among gardeners. In this blog post, we will delve into the culture, uses, care requirements, and interesting facts about the White Surprise bluebeard.

What is Bluebeard (Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘White Surprise’)?

The Bluebeard plant, also known by its botanical name Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘White Surprise’, is an ornamental shrub that belongs to the Verbenaceae family. It is a hybrid plant resulting from a cross between two Caryopteris species to produce the ‘White Surprise’ cultivar. The shrub is renowned for its striking white-tinged foliage and abundant clusters of blue or violet flowers, which collectively contribute to its allure. Bluebeard is native to East Asia, particularly China, Korea, and Japan, and is prized for its ornamental value in gardens and landscapes.

Key Takeaways – Bluebeard (Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘White Surprise’)

Before we delve into the details of caring for and cultivating the Bluebeard plant, let’s summarise the key takeaways for quick reference.

  • Scientific Name: Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘White Surprise’
  • Common Name: Bluebeard
  • Plant Type: Deciduous Shrub
  • Foliage: White-tinged
  • Flower Color: Blue/Violet
  • Uses: Ornamental, Pollinator-friendly
  • Watering: Moderate
  • Sunlight: Full Sun
  • Fertilizer: Balanced, Slow-release
  • Soil: Well-drained, Loamy
  • Pruning: Spring
  • Propagation: Softwood Cuttings
  • Container Friendly: Yes
  • Pest Resistance: Moderate
  • Disease Resistance: Moderate

Now, let’s explore each of these aspects in detail to understand how to best care for and utilize the Bluebeard plant.


The culture of Bluebeard (Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘White Surprise’) encompasses its cultural significance, historical relevance, and emergence as a beloved horticultural specimen. This section delves into the background of bluebeard with a focus on its cultural importance in gardens and landscapes.

Historical Significance

Caryopteris x clandonensis, including its ‘White Surprise’ cultivar, has garnered substantial attention among horticulturists and garden enthusiasts due to its exceptional attributes. The hybridization of Caryopteris varieties has led to the development of numerous cultivars, each boasting unique features. Among these, ‘White Surprise’ stands out for its distinctive foliage and beautiful blooms. Its introduction to the horticultural world has broadened the diversity of available ornamental shrubs, adding a touch of elegance to landscapes.

Landscape Uses

In landscape design, Bluebeard (Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘White Surprise’) is employed as a versatile ornamental shrub, often used to provide visual interest, attract pollinators, and impart a vibrant touch to gardens. Its compact size and prolific flowering make it suitable for various landscape settings, including flower beds, borders, and mixed plantings. Additionally, Bluebeard’s drought tolerance and ability to thrive in sunny locations make it an ideal choice for xeriscaping and water-efficient landscapes.


Bluebeard (Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘White Surprise’) offers several uses in gardens and outdoor spaces, ranging from its ornamental value to its role in supporting local ecosystems. Let’s explore the diverse applications of this charming shrub.

  • Ornamental: The ‘White Surprise’ cultivar is primarily cultivated for its ornamental appeal. Its variegated, white-tinged leaves and abundant clusters of blue or violet flowers enhance the visual appeal of gardens, attracting admirers and creating a captivating ambiance.

  • Pollinator-Friendly: Bluebeard plants, including the ‘White Surprise’ variety, are valued for their ability to attract and support pollinators, such as bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects. By providing a nectar source and habitat, Bluebeard contributes to the ecological balance in garden environments.

  • Cut Flower Production: The long-lasting flowers of Bluebeard make it suitable for cut flower production. The vibrant blossoms can be harvested for floral arrangements, adding a touch of elegance and color to indoor spaces.

  • Wildlife Habitat Enhancement: In addition to attracting pollinators, Bluebeard contributes to enhancing wildlife habitats by providing shelter and food sources for birds and small mammals. Its role in supporting biodiversity underscores its ecological importance in garden ecosystems.

Care Requirements

Caring for Bluebeard (Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘White Surprise’) involves attending to its water, sunlight, fertilizer, soil, pruning, and propagation needs to ensure optimal growth and blooming. Let’s delve into the specific care requirements for this delightful shrub.


Proper watering is crucial for the health and vitality of Bluebeard plants. While Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘White Surprise’ exhibits a degree of drought tolerance once established, it thrives when provided with regular, moderate watering. Adequate moisture levels are especially important during the plant’s establishment period and in hot, dry conditions.

Watering Guidelines:

  • New Plantings: Water deeply immediately after planting and maintain consistent moisture until the plant becomes established.
  • Established Plants: Water when the soil begins to dry out, providing approximately 1 inch of water per week during the growing season, adjusting for local climate conditions.


Bluebeard (Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘White Surprise’) thrives in full sunlight and benefits from exposure to at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. Adequate sunlight is essential for promoting robust growth, optimal flowering, and vibrant foliage coloration.

Sunlight Requirements:

  • **Ideally, plant Bluebeard in a location that receives full sun, providing the necessary light for vigorous growth and prolific blooming.
  • **In regions with intense afternoon heat, partial shade during the hottest part of the day may be beneficial to prevent foliage scorching.


To support healthy growth and abundant flowering, Bluebeard (Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘White Surprise’) benefits from an application of balanced, slow-release fertilizer. Fertilization should be undertaken in accordance with the plant’s growth stages and specific nutritional needs.

Fertilizer Recommendations:

  • Early Spring: Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer or a granular fertilizer formulated for flowering shrubs according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • **Avoid over-fertilization, as excessive nitrogen can promote excessive foliage growth at the expense of flowering.


Bluebeard plants, including the ‘White Surprise’ cultivar, thrive in well-drained, loamy soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH. Soil with good drainage is essential to prevent waterlogging, which can lead to root rot and other moisture-related issues.

Soil Preferences:

  • **Ensure the planting site offers well-drained soil, amending heavy or compacted soils with organic matter to improve drainage.
  • **Aim for a slightly acidic to neutral soil pH, typically ranging from 6.0 to 7.0, to create optimal growing conditions for Bluebeard.


Pruning plays a pivotal role in shaping and maintaining the health of Bluebeard (Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘White Surprise’). Proper pruning helps to encourage compact growth, stimulate flowering, and remove dead or damaged growth, contributing to the shrub’s overall vigor.

Pruning Guidelines:

  • Spring Pruning: Perform pruning in early spring before new growth emerges to remove old flower heads and shape the plant as needed.
  • **Avoid pruning in late summer or fall, as this can remove the next season’s flower buds.


Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘White Surprise’ can be propagated through softwood cuttings, offering an opportunity to expand your Bluebeard collection or share this delightful shrub with fellow gardening enthusiasts.

Propagation Steps:

  1. **Select healthy, non-flowering shoots in late spring or early summer for softwood cuttings.
  2. **Prepare the cuttings by removing the lower leaves and trimming the stem to encourage root development.
  3. **Dip the cut ends in rooting hormone and plant the cuttings in a well-draining rooting medium.
  4. **Place the cuttings in a warm, humid environment with indirect light, maintaining consistent moisture until roots develop.

Container Popularity

The compact size and ornamental appeal of Bluebeard (Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘White Surprise’) make it well-suited for container gardening, allowing gardeners to enjoy its beauty on patios, balconies, and other outdoor spaces. Planting Bluebeard in containers offers several benefits, including ease of care, versatility, and the opportunity to create captivating arrangements.

Container Planting Tips:

  • **Select a large container with adequate drainage holes to accommodate the shrub’s root system and prevent waterlogging.
  • **Use a high-quality, well-draining potting mix to provide optimal growing conditions for Bluebeard in containers.
  • **Position the container in a location that receives full sunlight to promote healthy growth and flowering.

Common Diseases

While Bluebeard (Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘White Surprise’) is generally resistant to many pests and diseases, certain issues may arise, necessitating vigilance and prompt intervention. Understanding the common diseases that can affect this shrub is essential for effective management and maintenance.

Disease Diagnosis:

  • Powdery Mildew: The presence of powdery white patches on the foliage signifies powdery mildew, a fungal disease that can affect Bluebeard plants. Adequate air circulation and proactive measures can help prevent and control this issue.

  • Root Rot: Excessive moisture or poorly drained soil can lead to root rot in Bluebeard shrubs. Symptoms include wilting, yellowing foliage, and stunted growth. Addressing underlying drainage issues is vital for managing and preventing root rot.

  • Leaf Spot Diseases: Various fungal and bacterial pathogens may cause leaf spot diseases on Bluebeard, leading to the development of dark spots or lesions on the foliage. Proper sanitation and cultural practices can help reduce the risk of leaf spot diseases.

Common Pests

Bluebeard (Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘White Surprise’) is relatively resistant to most pests, but certain insect pests may occasionally pose a threat to the shrub. Recognizing and addressing these common pests is essential to maintain the health and beauty of Bluebeard.

Pest Control:

  • Aphids: These small, sap-feeding insects may infest the tender new growth of Bluebeard plants, causing distortion and discoloration of the foliage. Periodically inspecting and using insecticidal soaps or horticultural oils can help manage aphid populations.

  • Spider Mites: Spider mites are tiny arachnids that can cause stippling and webbing on the foliage of Bluebeard. Regularly monitoring the undersides of the leaves and using water sprays or miticides can help control spider mites.

  • Caterpillars: Some caterpillar species may feed on the foliage of Bluebeard, leading to defoliation and aesthetic damage. Handpicking caterpillars and using biological controls can help mitigate their impact on the shrub.

Botanist’s Tips

Explore these botanist’s tips to cultivate healthy, thriving Bluebeard (Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘White Surprise’) and maximize its ornamental potential in garden settings.

  • Companion Planting: Pair Bluebeard with complementary plants that share its cultural requirements and aesthetic appeal. Consider companions that offer seasonal interest, contrast in foliage texture and color, and heightened visual impact when planted alongside Bluebeard.

  • Eco-friendly Practices: Implement eco-friendly gardening practices to support the overall well-being of Bluebeard and the surrounding ecosystem. This includes minimizing the use of chemical pesticides, fostering biodiversity, and conserving natural resources.

  • Seasonal Maintenance: Stay attentive to seasonal maintenance tasks, such as pruning, fertilizing, and monitoring for pests and diseases, to promote the long-term health and vitality of Bluebeard throughout the year.

Fun Facts

Discover intriguing and delightful fun facts about Bluebeard (Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘White Surprise’) that shed light on its unique characteristics and captivating allure.

  1. Fragrant Flowers: Bluebeard is celebrated for producing fragrant flowers, which emit a delightful aroma, attracting pollinators and enhancing the sensory experience in garden settings.
  2. Attracts Butterflies: The nectar-rich blooms of Bluebeard entice butterflies, adding movement and vivacity to the garden as these enchanting insects flit from flower to flower.
  3. Medicinal Uses: In traditional medicine, certain Caryopteris species have been used for their medicinal properties, with potential applications in herbal remedies and alternative medicine.

Links to External Resources

For further information on Bluebeard (Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘White Surprise’) and related topics, explore the following external resources:

  1. Missouri Botanical Garden – Caryopteris x clandonensis
  2. Royal Horticultural Society – Bluebeard
  3. University of Florida IFAS Extension – Growing Bluebeard

In conclusion, Bluebeard (Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘White Surprise’) stands as a captivating and versatile shrub, offering ornamental beauty, ecological benefits, and horticultural interest. By understanding its culture, uses, and care requirements, gardeners can effectively integrate this charming plant into their landscapes and relish its enchanting presence. Whether adorning a flower bed, brightening a container garden, or supporting pollinators, Bluebeard shines as a cherished addition to horticultural collections, delighting observers with its elegance and charm.

Picture of Peter Taylors

Peter Taylors

Expert botanist who loves plants. His expertise spans taxonomy, plant ecology, and ethnobotany. An advocate for plant conservation, he mentors and educates future botanists, leaving a lasting impact on the field.