Eazy Gardening

Bluebeard: A Versatile and Low-Maintenance Shrub for Any Garden

Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘First Choice’ (Bluebeard): A Shrubby Beauty that Wows

If you are looking for a shrub that’s both beautiful and beneficial for wildlife, then Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘First Choice’ should be on your list. Commonly referred to as Bluebeard, this plant is a deciduous shrub with a lot to offer.

With its blue-purple flowers and aromatic foliage, this shrub will add a splash of color and fragrance to your garden. In this article, we will delve into everything you need to know about growing and caring for this amazing plant.

Overview of the Plant

Common Names and Description

Caryopteris x clandonensis is a hybrid bluebeard that was developed in Great Britain by crossing two species of shrubs from Asia. It belongs to the Lamiaceae family, which is also known as the mint family.

Bluebeard is known by many other names, including blue mist spirea, blue spirea, and bluebird.

This attractive shrub can grow up to 4 feet in height and width.

Its foliage is a silvery-green hue with serrated edges, and the leaves are arranged in an opposite pattern. The blue-purple flowers bloom from mid-summer to early fall, and their bright color makes them stand out in any garden.

The shrub is known for its sweet, pungent aroma, which is similar to that of sage.


Aside from its aesthetic appeal, Bluebeard is a great attraction for bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. It provides nectar and pollen, ensuring that your garden is a haven for wildlife.

This shrub is also low maintenance. Unlike other shrubs, it doesn’t require pruning unless there are crossed or damaged branches that need to be removed.

Plant Cultivation and Care

Preferred Growing Conditions

If you want to grow this plant, consider the location where it will be planted. Bluebeard is a sun-loving plant that requires full sun or partial shade.

It’s also drought-tolerant, meaning that it thrives in dry conditions. In well-drained soil that’s rich in organic matter, this shrub will do very well.

Potential Pest and Disease Issues

Bluebeard shrubs are generally hardy plants that do not suffer from severe pest infestations or diseases. However, there are a few pathogens that may impact its growth.

Stem blight and root rot are the most common diseases in this shrub, while spider mites can occasionally be a problem. To prevent these issues, make sure you plant your Bluebeard in well-drained soil that has a pH level of 6.5-7.5, give the shrub adequate spacing to allow good air circulation, and avoid over-irrigation, which can encourage fungal growth.

Planting and Maintenance Tips

When planting Bluebeard, choose a sunny location with well-drained soil. Before planting, prepare the planting hole by adding organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure to the soil.

Mix the organic matter with the soil until it’s well-combined. Plant the shrub at the same depth it was in the container and backfill the soil around the roots.

Once the shrub is established, it doesn’t require too much watering except during extended dry periods. Fertilize in the spring with a balanced N-P-K fertilizer, and you’ll be rewarded with robust growth and vibrant blooms.

You can propagate your Bluebeard by stem cuttings taken in late spring or by division of mature shrubs during the dormant season.


Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘First Choice’ (Bluebeard) is a versatile shrub that will not only add beauty to your garden but also attract pollinators to enhance the biodiversity of your yard. As low-maintenance plants with few pest or disease problems, growing Bluebeard is easy.

If you want a shrubby beauty that wows, then this Bluebeard cultivar is a must-try!

Plant Propagation Methods

Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘First Choice’ (Bluebeard) can be propagated using both sexual and asexual reproduction methods. The sexual method involves using seeds to grow new plants, while the asexual method involves creating clones of the parent plant.

Each method has its own unique advantages and disadvantages.

Sexual Reproduction

Growing Bluebeard from seeds is a relatively straightforward process. The seeds can be collected from mature plants in the fall when the flowers have faded, and the capsules have matured.

The capsules should be left on the plant until they have become brown, at which point they are ready to be harvested. Once harvested, the seeds should be stored in a cool, dry place until spring.

When the spring arrives, the seeds can be sown in well-drained soil and covered lightly. It’s important to keep the soil moist, but not too wet, as this can cause the seeds to rot.

In 2-3 weeks, the seedlings will start to emerge. At this point, it’s important to thin out the seedlings to ensure that each plant has enough space to grow.

Sexual reproduction has the advantage of producing new plants that are genetically different from the parent plant. This can result in some variation in flower color and other characteristics.

However, it can also take longer for the new plants to reach maturity and start flowering.

Asexual Reproduction

Asexual propagation of Bluebeard is usually done through stem cuttings. This method involves taking a stem cutting from the parent plant, then rooting the cutting to create a new plant.

To take a cutting, choose a healthy stem that has no flowers or buds. The cutting should be taken in late spring or early summer when new growth is emerging.

The cutting should be between 3 and 4 inches long, and the bottom inch of the stem should be stripped of leaves. Dip the stripped stem into rooting hormone powder, then insert it into a pot of well-draining soil.

Cover the cutting with a plastic bag or propagate it in a greenhouse with high humidity to ensure that the cutting doesn’t dry out. After a few weeks, roots should start to emerge from the cutting, indicating that the new plant is established.

Once rooted, the new plant can be transplanted into the ground or a larger container. Asexual reproduction has the advantage of producing new plants that are genetically identical to the parent plant, ensuring that the new plants will have the same desirable characteristics.

Plant Adaptations to Different Environments

Caryopteris x clandonensis is a hardy plant that can adapt to different environments, provided that the growing conditions are favorable. Here are some of the ways that Bluebeard can adapt to different environments:

Drought Tolerance

Bluebeard is a drought-tolerant plant, and it can survive on relatively low amounts of water. In fact, overwatering can be detrimental to the plant’s health.

The plant has developed a deep root system that allows it to access water from deeper in the soil. Additionally, the plant’s leaves are covered in fine hairs that help to reduce water loss through transpiration.

Cold Hardiness

Bluebeard is a deciduous plant that can withstand cold temperatures. It can survive in USDA zones 5-9, which means that it can tolerate temperatures as low as -20F.

In colder areas, the plant’s leaves will die back in the fall, but new growth will emerge in the spring.

Heat Tolerance

Bluebeard can also tolerate high temperatures, provided that the soil is well-drained and the plant has access to water. In hot environments, the plant may require more frequent watering to keep up with its water needs.

The plant’s leaves are adapted to deal with high temperatures, as they are covered in fine hairs that reflect sunlight and reduce water loss through transpiration.

Salt Tolerance

Bluebeard can also tolerate salty soils, making it a great plant for coastal gardens. The plant has adapted to salty soils by developing a root system that can filter out excess salt, preventing it from accumulating in the plant’s tissues.

In Summary

Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘First Choice’ (Bluebeard) is a versatile plant that can adapt to different environments. It can be propagated through sexual and asexual methods and is well adapted to drought, cold, heat, and salty soils.

With its beautiful blue-purple flowers, aromatic foliage, and easy-to-grow nature, it’s no wonder why Bluebeard is a popular choice for gardens and landscapes.

Usage of Bluebeard in Indoor Setting

Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘First Choice’ (Bluebeard) is typically grown outdoors in the garden or landscape, but it can also thrive in indoor settings. With its bright blue-purple flowers and aromatic foliage, it can add a pop of color and fragrance to any indoor space.

Container Gardening

One way to grow Bluebeard indoors is through container gardening. Choose a container that’s at least 12 inches in diameter and 12 inches deep, as the roots of this shrub need room to grow.

Make sure the container has drainage holes to prevent waterlogging of the roots. Fill the container with a well-draining potting mix, and add a slow-release fertilizer.

Place the container in a bright location near a window that gets plenty of sunlight. Bluebeard needs at least 6 hours of full sun per day to flower properly.

Water the plant when the soil is dry to the touch, and avoid over-watering the plant, as this can lead to root rot.


Bluebeard can become quite leggy if it’s not pruned regularly. You can prune your indoor Bluebeard in the same way you would with an outdoor one.

Prune in the spring before new growth emerges, removing any dead or damaged wood. You can also prune your Bluebeard after it has finished blooming to maintain its shape.

Usage of Bluebeard in Outdoor Setting

Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘First Choice’ (Bluebeard) is commonly grown outdoors in the garden or landscape. Here are some ways to incorporate this plant into your outdoor space:

Borders and Hedges

Bluebeard is a perfect choice for low hedges and border plantings. The plant’s compact size and bushy habit make it an ideal choice for defining garden beds, creating boundaries, or simply adding color to areas that need a little sprucing up.

Plant Bluebeard in groups for maximum visual effect, and supplement with other foliage plants or annuals to create a layered planting scheme.

Mixed Borders

Bluebeard also works well in mixed borders that feature a range of different plants. Combining Bluebeard with other flowering plants, ornamental grasses, and evergreen shrubs will provide year-round interest in your garden.

Choose plants that have similar watering and sun exposure requirements, and think about color when planning your garden design.

Wildlife Gardens

Caryopteris x clandonensis is a great choice for wildlife gardens as it attracts butterflies, bees, and other pollinators. By providing nectar and pollen, Bluebeard helps support the local ecosystem and enhances the biodiversity of your garden.

Plant Bluebeard in sunny, well-drained locations, and combine with other wildlife-friendly plants such as milkweed, coneflower, and asters.


Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘First Choice’ (Bluebeard) is a versatile and beautiful plant that can be grown in both indoor and outdoor settings. With its vibrant blue-purple flowers, aromatic foliage, and attractive form, it’s a great addition to any garden or interior space.

Whether you choose to plant Bluebeard in a container, create a hedge, or create a mixed border, the plant is sure to thrive and delight. Toxicity of Bluebeard to


Horses, and


Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘First Choice’ (Bluebeard) is not considered a toxic plant, and it is generally safe for humans to handle and consume.

However, there are some concerns regarding Bluebeard’s toxicity to pets and horses.


Bluebeard is not considered toxic to dogs or cats, but it’s important to monitor your pet’s behavior around the plant. Some pets may chew on the leaves or flowers, which could result in an upset stomach or gastrointestinal issues.

If you notice that your pet has ingested Bluebeard and is showing signs of illness, such as vomiting or diarrhea, contact your veterinarian immediately.


Bluebeard contains a compound called luteolin, which can cause photocontact dermatitis in horses. This condition occurs when the skin comes into contact with the plant and is exposed to sunlight.

If a horse ingests Bluebeard, it may develop skin lesions, which can be very uncomfortable. While Bluebeard is not toxic to horses, it can cause skin irritation.


Bluebeard is not toxic to humans, but it can cause skin irritation in some people. The plant’s leaves and flowers contain essential oils that can cause dermatitis or conjunctivitis in some individuals.

If you come into contact with Bluebeard and experience itching, redness, or swelling, immediately wash the affected area with soap and water.

In Summary

Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘First Choice’ (Bluebeard) is not considered a toxic plant to humans, but it can cause skin irritation. While Bluebeard is generally safe for pets to be around, ingestion of the plant can cause gastrointestinal issues in some animals.

Horse owners should be aware of the plant’s potential to cause photocontact dermatitis. As always, it’s important to exercise caution when handling any plant and seek veterinary or medical attention if you suspect that you or your pet has ingested or come into contact with a toxic plant.

In conclusion, Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘First Choice’ (Bluebeard) is a versatile and low-maintenance plant that can thrive in different environments, attract beneficial wildlife, and add beauty to both indoor and outdoor spaces. This article has covered all aspects of growing, propagating, and using Bluebeard, including its preferred growing conditions, potential pest and disease issues, and toxicity concerns.

Whether you’re a new or seasoned gardener, adding Bluebeard to your garden or interior space is sure to enhance its aesthetic appeal and ecological value.


Q: Is Bluebeard drought-tolerant? A: Yes, Bluebeard is drought-tolerant, and it can survive on relatively low amounts of water.

Q: Can Bluebeard grow in indoor settings? A: Yes, Bluebeard can grow in indoor settings through container gardening, provided that it receives plenty of sunlight and is watered appropriately.

Q: Is Bluebeard toxic to pets? A: Bluebeard is generally safe for pets to be around, but ingestion of the plant can cause gastrointestinal issues.

Q: Can Bluebeard attract pollinators? A: Yes, Bluebeard attracts bees, butterflies, and other pollinators, making it a great addition to wildlife gardens.

Q: How do I propagate Bluebeard? A: Bluebeard can be propagated through sexual reproduction using seeds or asexual reproduction through stem cuttings.

Q: Is Bluebeard cold-tolerant? A: Yes, Bluebeard is cold-hardy and can withstand temperatures as low as -20F.

Q: How do I prune Bluebeard? A: Bluebeard should be pruned in the spring before new growth emerges, removing any dead or damaged wood.

You can also prune your Bluebeard after it has finished blooming to maintain its shape.

Popular Posts