Bluebeard Shrubs

A breathtaking beauty with fragrant, pollinator-friendly fall flowers

The Caryopteris genus contains small to medium-sized flowering deciduous shrubs, commonly called bluebeards, blue spirea, or blue mist, grown for their aromatic foliage and fragrant late-season flowers. Blooming for weeks in late summer and early fall, the airy, fine-textured shrubs create an opulent display with sprays of small, bright blue or white flowers that often appear misty or cloudlike above the foliage, which can be silvery blue-green, chartreuse, gold, or variegated. The nectar-rich flowers are highly attractive to bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds as well as other beneficial pollinators.

Bluebeards tend to be bushy and multi-stemmed with a rounded, low-mounding habit. They are shown to best effect when grouped or massed in shrub borders or low hedges, but they are also lovely specimen and container plants. And they’re perfect for a butterfly, pollinator, cutting, or cottage garden.

Having an easy-care attitude, bluebeards grow best in sunny locations with moderately moist, well-draining soil but are drought tolerant once established. They are also pest, disease, and deer resistant. And although the shrubs are low maintenance, they bloom on new wood and benefit from a late winter pruning. However, in cooler Zones (5-6), they die back, more like an herbaceous perennial, but their roots remain viable, and they will grow back.