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Graham Rice's New Plants Blog

Graham Rice Garden writer and plantsman Northamptonshire and Pennsylvania

Editor-in-Chief of the RHS Encyclopedia of Perennials; writer for a wide range of newspapers and magazines including The Garden and The Plantsman; member of the RHS Herbaceous Plant Committee and Floral Trials Committee; author of many books on plants and gardens.

  • Date Joined: 18 Oct 2006

Caryopteris x clandonensis 'White Surprise': new variegated form

Posted by Graham Rice on 30 Aug 2010 at 03:15 PM

Caryopteris,clandonensis,'White Surprise'. Image ©PlantHaven.comIn recent years we’ve seen quite a few new forms of that dependable summer shrub, Caryopteris – new forms which add attractive foliage to those valuable blue blooms.

Some of the new yellow-leaved forms of Caryopteris really are bright, but they’ve often proved less hardy than the plain green-leaved forms. ‘White Surprise’, a sport of the old favourite ‘Heavenly Blue’, seems just as hardy so there’s no worries about it coming through the winter. And the foliage really is bright, with clean white edges to the dark, slightly greyish green leaves, making the perfect background for the rich blue flowers.

Prune it back hard in the spring, as with all caryopteris, and you’re rewarded with a bright flush of dark grey-green foliage with its bright white edge. Then, from about August onwards, those clusters of blue flowers appear.

Caryopteris,clandonensis,'White Surprise'. Image ©Plantipp.eu'White Surprise' reaches about 3ft high, and as wide, and makes a good container plant in any well-drained compost in a sunny place; in a sunny border, place it in the middle ground or towards the front. In prolonged hot and dry conditions, the edges of the leaves may burn a little so keep container plants watered and, when necessary, give border plants an occasional bucketful.

Caryopteris x clandonensis 'White Surprise' was discovered in Holland in 2005 by Jan Jacob Bos on his nursery at Wilp. One day he noticed a variegated shoot on a plant of ‘Heavenly Blue’, simple as that.

Caryopteris x clandonensis 'White Surprise' is available from these RHS Plantfinder nurseries.

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