Common name: Blue beard, blue mist shrub or blue spirea
Botanical name: Caryopteris
What it is: A late-blooming small flowering shrub with silvery foliage and wispy blue flower clusters from late August into October.
Size: Typically 3 to 4 feet tall and wide with an annual trim. Where to use: Best in full sun. Makes a good southern or western foundation shrub and also works well in border gardens with sun-loving perennials. Avoid low-lying frost pockets because caryopteris doesn’t like unusually cold winters. Also prone to rotting in wet spots, so plant in loose, well drained soil.
Why I like it: They are very drought tolerant and require little care. I like that they often seed themselves, which means you can have babies to replant or give to friends and family. It comes in a couple shades of blue and purple, depending on the variety. ‘Snow Fairy’ has nice variegated leaves, but the flowers aren’t as showy as the traditional solid color leaf varieties. ‘Summer Sorbet’ has deep blue flowers with gold and green variegated leaves.