Hoary bluebeard

Hoary bluebeard, cultivar 'Jason' (Sunshine Blue®).

Family (English):


Botanical name:

Caryopteris incana

All Common Names:

Hoary bluebeard

Family (Botanic):


Season of Interest:

  • Late summer,
  • Early fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Blue

Soil Preference:

  • Moist, well-drained soil

Shape or Form:

  • Mounded,
  • Multi-stemmed,
  • Open

Growth Rate:

  • Moderate,
  • Fast

More Information:

Tree & Plant Care

Technically a shrub, but treated as a perennial. Root hardy, but stems can dieback in cold winters.
Grown for late summer flowers, reaching 2 to 3 feet high and wide
Cut back in early spring to promote new growth and better flowering
Best in full sun to part shade in well-drained soil
Will not tolerate wet clay soil

Disease, pests, and problems

no serious problems
root rots in poorly drained sites

Native geographic location and habitat

Japan, Korea, and China

Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife

Flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Opposite, lance-shaped toothed leaves up to 3 inches long.
Dull gray foliage with silvery undersides,  adds nice contrast to the flowers

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Violet blue flowers are borne in clusters (cymes) from axils of stems in later summer

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Tan capsules add winter interest to shrub

Cultivars and their differences 

Sunshine Blue® Hoary Bluebird (Caryopteris incana 'Jason'): Mounded, 2 to 3 feet high and wide. Bright yellow foliage contrasts nicely with bright blue flowers.

An open, loose, woody shrub reaching 2 to 3 feet tall with violet-blue flowers in late summer and fragrant, silvery-green foliage.  Though hoary bluebeard is technically a shrub, it should be treated as a perennial in the Midwest because it tends to die back in harsh winters.

This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.


Tree or Plant Type:

  • Perennial,
  • Shrub

Native Locale:

  • Non-native

Landscape Uses:

  • Container,
  • Massing,
  • Patio/sidewalk

Size Range:

  • Small shrub (3-5 feet),
  • Low-growing shrub (under 3 feet)

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7,
  • Zone 8,
  • Zone 9

Location of Caryopteris incana (Hoary bluebeard) at the Arboretum