Caryopteris × clandonensis 'Lissilv' STERLING SILVER
Common Name: bluebeard
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Lamiaceae
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to September
Bloom Description: Violet blue
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Fragrant
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Drought

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun. Prefers loose loams. Tolerates some drought. Intolerant of wet, poorly-drained soils. Roots are winter hardy to USDA Zone 5, but top growth is only reliably winter hardy to USDA Zone 7. Thus, stems will often die to the ground in the cold winters of Zones 5 and 6, with roots surviving to push up new stems in spring. Many gardeners in Zones 5 and 6 simply assume stems will be damaged in winter and automatically prune back hard all stems each year in early spring. Moreover, even in warm winter climates where the stems usually survive winter, gardeners still frequently prune the plants back hard in early spring to promote vigorous new stem growth. Flowering is unaffected by spring pruning because plants bloom on new growth.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Caryopteris x clandonensis, commonly called bluebeard, blue spirea or blue mist, is a low-mounded, deciduous shrub that is valued for its aromatic foliage and late summer flowers which are said to resemble clouds of blue smoke or mist. Clandonensis hybrids typically produce about 18-30” of growth per year, so total shrub height (usually from 2-3’) depends in large part upon the extent of winter dieback and/or the annual spring pruning. Flowers are very attractive to butterflies, bees and other beneficial insects. Foliage is aromatic when brushed with a hand.

Genus name comes from Greek karyon meaning nut and pteron meaning wing in reference to the winged fruits found on this shrub.

‘Lissilv’, commonly sold under the trademarked name of STERLING SILVER, is noted for producing showy silver foliage on compact rounded shrubs typically growing to 2-3’ tall and to 3’ wide. Foliage is attractive throughout the growing season. Violet blue flowers in terminal and axillary clusters (cymes) bloom from late summer into fall (July-September in St. Louis). Flowers are very attractive to butterflies, bees and other beneficial insects. Leaves are aromatic when brushed with a hand. U.S. Plant Patent Applied For (PPAF).

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Crowns may rot in wet, poorly-drained soils.

Garden Uses

Perennial borders. Shrub borders. Very effective in large groups or massed. Also effective as a low hedge. Valued for its late summer to fall flowers when few other shrubs are in bloom.