There are many wonderful plants that are both visually pleasing and low-maintenance.¬† This week’s choice for Plant of the Week is the lovely bluebeard, aka Longwood Blue or Blue Mist. Though it has many different “common” names, the scientific name for this beloved blue bush is Caryopteris x clandonensis. According to Taunton Fine Gardening, it also is known as “Worcester Gold.” There is a reason such a treasured name has been given to this plant: it’s quite a gem!
The Blue Mist requires “Relatively drought tolerant and very heat tolerant. Shrub expands slowly as branches that touch the ground form their own roots” and shouldn’t be planted in overly moist soil. This deciduous bush is known for its lavendar/bluish-purple flowers, pleasing scent and hardy, drought-tolerant nature. This bush can reach anywhere from two to six feet in height. This plant has been known to flourish in a wide variety of locations, including Maryland to Texas. In addition, this plant is even “attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds.”
Part of the allure of this plant is the striking color of its flowers, which can be a mix of purples, blues and grays.
Interestingly, a number of prominent nurseries and botanical gardens give excellent reviews of the blue-flowering plant (Blue Mist Speria, Longwood Blue, Bluebeard, Blue Mist.) The Nature Hills Nursery describes the Blue Mist Bluebeard as “Widely adaptable.” Owners of this plant have raved about its beauty, ease of growth and ability to tolerate drier conditions. The Missouri Botanical Garden’s Kemper Center for Home Gardening describes the Blue Mist as “Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade.” The Brooklyn Botanic Garden describes the Blue Mist/Bluebear as exhibiting
“Tight, compact growth, exquisite deep blue flowers, and handsome dark green foliage [which] characterize this French selection of the blue mist spirea. The flowers, borne on branched clusters from late summer to early autumn, are magnets for butterflies. Plant it in a moderately fertile, light, well-drained soil in full sun or light shade.”
The great thing about this blue plant is that you don’t have to sacrifice beauty in order to save water! By planting more low-water use/drought-resistant plants that require less water (along the lines of Xeriscape), consumers can save water in their yards. Combined with a smart sprinkler controller like Cyber-Rain, consumers can save thousands of gallons of water every year, which also translates to big savings, come time for the water bill! The lovely Bluebeard/Blue Mist is one fine option when considering hardy, drought-tolerant, yet beautiful, plants. Happy gardening!