Do you want an easy to grow shrub that has very few pest problems, isn't munched on by deer or rabbits, and looks great at the end of summer? No it's not impossible, think caryopteris! Caryopteris (Caryopteris x clandonensis also called blue mist shrub, bluebeard, or blue mist spirea) has all of those traits and is stunning in the September garden. It's also extremely easy to propagate and in two growing years will easily grow to be a 3' shrub from a cutting taken in the spring of the first year. Taking cuttings from it in spring and summer encourages it to become a much bushier plant.
In my side garden I've been gradually adding them as a shrub border plant. I'm spacing them close together so that the row of caryopteris shrubs will fill in and thicken to create a pathway edged in blue for September. This particular caryopteris is 'Longwood Blue' named for Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania.
Leave the foliage through the winter and trim it back in the spring. It's hardy from zones 5-8 but leaving the branches on through the winter will add a little extra protection from the cold.
I usually can find caryopteris at a local nursery in the summer fairly cheaply. That may be because it isn't in bloom when I find it and many people will only look and buy things when they are blooming. This is a case where knowing what the plant will look like greatly benefits the gardener.
It's hard for me to believe that these are already in bloom. Fall is close, real close!
Labels: Fall color, shrubs