Blue Mist CaryopterisCaryopteris x clandonensis 'Blue Mist'
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Caryopteris x clandonensis 'Blue Mist'
Outdoor Growing zone
The Blue Mist Caryopteris is a mounding deciduous shrub with many slender stems, growing 2 to 3 feet tall and wide. It has aromatic blue-green to sage-green leaves with silvery undersides that shimmer in the breeze. By mid-summer, and through into the fall, every stem is crowned with clusters of powder-blue flowers that attract butterflies and other insects. Use it in the front of beds, bordering paths and terraces, and among rocks and gravel in hot, dry places. Excellent in planters in warm zones.
Full sun and well-drained soil will give you the best results with the Blue Mist Caryopteris. This tough plant thrives in heat and it is very drought resistant. It is root hardy in cooler zones and fully hardy in zones 7 and 8, but quickly re-sprouts and blooms on new shoots, so it will be successful everywhere. Free of pests, avoided by deer and rabbits, and disease free in well-drained soils, this beautiful but easy to grow plant can find a home in every garden.
Colorful foreground planting is a vital part of any shrub bed, giving a ‘finished’ look, whether the bed border a lawn or a hard surface. Low-growing, mounding plants look great, especially when the bed borders a terrace, path or driveway, where they can tumble forward, softening hard edges and creating a rich, full look. If you use plants that are at their best in summer and fall, then you keep your beds colorful and continue the season after the main spring flowering shrub display is over. If the plant has attractive foliage in spring and early summer, as a foil for the colors of your shrubs, all the better. You can achieve exactly that look, with very little maintenance needed, by planting the Blue Mist Carypopteris. This mounding shrub stays low, and its sage-green leaves in spring are a great edging, while the wonderful blue flowers, that begin around the middle of summer, are the perfect neutral color to highlight all other flower colors you plant around it. Add in easy-care and drought-resistant and you have a real winner.
Blue Mist Caryopteris is a small to medium-sized deciduous shrub, generally growing between 2 and 3 feet tall, but potentially growing taller in warm areas if unpruned. It sends up many slender stems from the base, forming a bushy rounded plant as wide as it is tall, with an airy look. New stems in spring will grow over 2 feet long by late summer. The stems carry pairs of leaves all along their length, and these leaves are simple ovals, 1 to 2 inches long and ½ to 1 inch wide, with a blue-green to sage-green upper side and a silvery lower side covered in short hairs. They flash silver when fluttering in a breeze. The foliage has a pleasant aromatic smell when brushed or crushed, reminiscent of mint or eucalyptus.
In spring and early summer, the many stems grow longer, and by mid to late summer, depending on your zone, small, powder-blue flowers open along the upper inches of the stems, with extra short stems covered in blooms also sprouting from the top. The result is a rich haze of blue over the whole plant, which continues to be colorful well into the fall. The flowers are small, but they are produced in profusion, and if you look closely at them you will see that the lower petal is elongated with a fringe of hairs, like a tiny beard. Butterflies and other pollinating insects love to visit the blooms.
This compact shrub is perfect for the front of any garden bed, mixed with both shrubs and perennial flowers, since it shares characteristics with both. It brings great late-season color and it is the perfect companion for late-blooming plants, hiding bare woody bases and enriching your display. It also looks great among rocks, gravel and boulders, and it enjoys the heat and dryness of an environment like that.
It is a great choice for xeric or water-wise gardening. It can be planted at the top of a wall to spill over, or mass planted on a bank or slope. In warmer zones it is also a great container plant for placing beneath taller shrubs and trees or mixing with flowers.
Blue Mist Caryopteris is root hardy into zone 5. That means that although the stems will die back in winter, after trimming new growth will sprout from the base vigorously. Since flowering is on new stems, it will still bloom perfectly. In zones 7 and 8 the stems are winter-hardy, and if left untrimmed it will form a larger shrub in a few years.
Blue Mist Caryopteris should be grown in full sun, in well-drained soil. It grows well in all soil types, both acid and alkaline, but good drainage is always needed, especially in the colder zones. Once established it has excellent drought resistance and grows well in all hot and dry spots in your garden.
Blue Mist Caryopteris normally has no pests of significance, and the only time diseases may strike is if it is grown in wet soil – good drainage is necessary. The aromatic foliage makes this plant unattractive to deer or rabbits. In late fall, once the flowers fade, give it a light trim for neatness through winter. Although, in warm zones, you can leave it to grow larger, most gardeners prefer to cut it back hard in spring, even if the stems are not killed. This keeps it lower, more compact and bushy, and generally much more attractive. Leave a neat framework of stems a few inches tall, and soon it will be leafing out again, growing vigorously. Avoid fertilizer or rich mulch, as this will make long, weak stems.
Blue Mist Caryopteris, Caryopteris x clandonensis, is also called Bluebeard, because of the hairy flowers, or Blue Spirea, although it is not a true spirea. It is a hybrid plant found only in cultivation. One parent is Caryopteris incana, from China and Japan, which was brought back by Robert Fortune from Canton in 1844. The other is Caryopteris mongolica, from northern China and Mongolia, which was being grown in France in the 1840s. Both these plants are not very hardy, and grow best in areas with hot, dry summers. Around 1930 Arthur Simmons, a British gardener, found a chance hybrid between these two plants growing in his garden in West Clandon, Surrey. This hybrid was more vigorous and tougher than either parent, and it grew well in ordinary garden conditions. The variety called ‘Blue Mist’ is striking for its compact form and softer, misty blue coloring, and it is widely admired. We don’t know exactly where it came from, but it probably originated in America after the 1960s, as a seedling from Mr. Simmons’ original plant.
Our plants of the Blue Mist Caryopteris are grown by rooting stem pieces. This preserves the unique powder-blue color of this variety. Sometimes the common name Blue Mist is given to any seedling plant of Caryopteris, which will produce flowers in variable shades of blue on plants of different vigor and size. Avoid the problems that will create by ordering now, while our stock of this unique color-form remains – they will soon be gone.