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TREES & Plants

Bluebeard

This mounded woody plant has cornflower-blue flowers in late summer and fragrant, silvery-green foliage.  Though bluebeard is technically a shrub, it should be treated as a perennial in the Midwest because it tends to die back in harsh winters.

 

Botanical name: 
Caryopteris x clandonensis
All Common Names: 
Bluebeard
Family (English): 
Verbenaceae
Family (Botanic): 
Vervain
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Perennial
  • Shrub
Foliage: 
  • Deciduous (foliage falls off)
Native Locale: 
  • Non-native
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 5
  • Zone 6
  • Zone 7
  • Zone 8
  • Zone 9
Growth Rate: 
  • Medium
  • Fast
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Partial sun (4-6 hrs direct light daily)
Tolerances: 
  • Dry sites
  • Occasional drought
  • Alkaline soil
Soil Preference: 
  • Alkaline soil
  • Moist, well-drained soil
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Fragrant
  • Blue
Size Range: 
  • Low-growing shrub (under 3 feet)
Shape or Form: 
  • Mounded
  • Rounded
Landscape Uses: 
  • Massing
  • Hedge
  • Foundation
  • Mixed border
  • Patio/sidewalk
Time of Year: 
  • Early winter
  • Mid winter
  • Late summer
  • Early fall
  • Mid fall
  • Late fall
More Information: 

Size

2 to 3 feet high and wide

Tree & Plant Care

Though it is technically a shrub, the plant should be treated as a perennial; dieback occurs in harsh winters. Do not cut back in fall; spring pruning promotes new growth and flowers. Cut back in early spring. 

Disease, pests and problems

No serious problems
Rot may occur in poorly drained sites.

Native geographic location and habitat

Of hybrid origin

Attracts birds & butterflies

Flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Simple, opposite leaves;  lance-shaped, 1 to 2 inches long; margins entire to finely toothed
Blue-grey with silvery undersides; fall color is a buttery yellow
.

Bluebeard (Caryopteris x clandonensis)Bluebeard (Caryopteris x clandonensis)photo: John Hagstrom

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Blue flowers borne in clusters (cymes) from the axils of the stem in late summer

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Clusters of tan capsules; ornamentally interesting in winter.

Cultivars and their differences 

Blue Mist  (Caryopteris x clandonensis 'Blue Mist'):  powder blue flowers

Dark Knight  (Caryopteris x clandonensis 'Dark Knight'):   rich deep blue flowers

Longwood Blue (Caryopteris x clandonensis 'Longwood Blue'): a taller cultivar reaching a height of 4 feet,  violet-blue flowers