Bushy foliage of Caryopteris x clandonensis 'Blue Empire' (Bluebeard) grown in 3-gallon pots.
Close-up of the toothed foliage of Caryopteris x clandonensis 'Blue Empire' (Bluebeard)

Caryopteris x clandonensis 'Blue Empire' (Bluebeard)

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Caryopteris x clandonensis 'Blue Empire' is a hybrid cultivar of bluebeard, also called blue mist shrub or blue spiraea, a compact rounded shrub popular in home landscapes and among pollinators. A popular cross of two popular east Asian species, Caryopteris incana and Caryopteris mongholica, this hybrid bluebeard typically only grows to about 2-3' tall and wide. The 'Blue Empre' cultivar, on the other hand, is a slightly more vigorous and upright cultivar, growing up to 3.5' tall and about 2' wide, producing produces beautiful, fragrant, silvery or blue-tinted green foliage from spring to fall. From late summer into the fall, 'Blue Empire' also produces a profusion of large bunches of blue-violet flowers that are an excellent treat for late season pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and even hummingbirds.

Caryopteris x clandonensis 'Blue Empire' grows best in full sun locations with well-drained, medium to dry soils. Once established, 'Blue Empire' can become somewhat drought dependent, making it a versatile and relatively hardy plant for pollinator gardens, low borders or hedges, and foundation plantings. Thanks to its fragrant foliage and low-growing behavior, 'Blue Empire' bluebeard is also deer and rabbit resistant and especially low-maintenance over time. Though not native to the US, Caryopteris x clandonensis 'Blue Empire' presents no risk of becoming invasive over time, and is actually a suitable replacement for more invasive ornamentals like bush clover (Lespedeza thunbergii).

Mature Plant Height: Medium: 30-48"
Sun (6+ hours)
Soil Moisture: Medium to Dry and Well-drained
Soil Type: Average
Bloom Time: Summer and Fall
Flower Color: Blue and Purple
Foliage color: Silver/Green-silver/Green-gray and Blue-Gray
Features: Attracts Butterflies, Attracts Pollinators, Attracts Hummingbirds, Fragrant, and Fall Color
Tolerances: Deer Tolerant, Rabbit Tolerant, and Drought Tolerant
Garden Type: Pollinator Garden, Meadow, Small Space, Container, and Foundation Planting

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