Bluebeard, Blue Spirea 'Snow Fairy'

Caryopteris divaricata

Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Caryopteris (kar-ee-OP-ter-iss) (Info)
Species: divaricata (dy-vair-ih-KAY-tuh) (Info)
Cultivar: Snow Fairy
View this plant in a garden




Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Medium Blue

Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall


Grown for foliage





Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

From woody stem cuttings

From softwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Fayetteville, Arkansas

Old Lyme, Connecticut

Cordele, Georgia

Waukegan, Illinois

Roslindale, Massachusetts

Westford, Massachusetts

Richland, Michigan

Hopkins, Minnesota

King City, Missouri

Saint Louis, Missouri

Hudson, New Hampshire

Clemmons, North Carolina

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Cincinnati, Ohio

Loveland, Ohio

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Sherwood, Oregon

Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Lexington, Virginia

Newport News, Virginia

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Nov 2, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This plant's principal virtue is its exceptionally beautiful variegated foliage that stands out from the other greens in the landscape. The overall effect is gray-silver. Even the "green" leaf centers are really more gray-green. Unlike many variegated plants, the color does not fade in the heat of summer.

The fragrance is negligible unless you bruise the foliage. To my nose, this smells like the famously stinky Asian fruit durian.

The small blue flowers are pretty on close inspection but do not read well in the garden.

This species is entirely herbaceous and not the least bit shrubby. Very late to emerge from dormancy in the spring, like a platycodon. Grows 3-4' tall and as wide.

Tolerates part shade well. Needs good drainage. May... read more


On Jan 18, 2013, ms_greenjeans from Hopkins, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

I felt I was pushing the zone 4 boundaries by planting this, but it is doing well here. It took a couple of summers to get going, and I didn't help at all because I moved it during that time. It is now a lovely specimen and extremely low-maintenance and trouble-free. The flowers are very pretty, but quite tiny and not terribly noticeable -- that's fine because the foliage really steals the show.
Update 2013: This plant/shrub is a delight. The foliage is gorgeous, and I take back what I said about the flowers. They are tiny, but very interesting and the effect of the dark royal purple and lighter purple shades against the foliage is simply stunning.


On May 11, 2012, chris_h from Waukegan, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

Updated 8/10/13

I planted this in 2011 in late summer. Now in 2013 it is about 3 feet wide and tall. The blossoms last year were barely noticeable (hasn't bloomed yet this year) but even if it never bloomed I would keep it for the foliage alone, which positively glows against a dark background. The foliage looks very delicate but it is tough, tolerating long dry spells for me. When other plants are looking stressed by heat and low rainfall, this one looks fresh as a daisy. The only slightly negative comment I have is the odor when the leaves are bruised, rather like a strong smell of green peppers to me, not pleasant but tolerable. People seem to perceive the smell in different ways judging by the comments here. It is well worth having despite this minor drawback.


On Sep 2, 2008, plantmover from Hampton Roads, VA (Zone 7b) wrote:

The foliage compensates for the lack of size and showiness in the flowers. Agree with previous note, finding the odor neither entirely offensive nor especially fragrant. Probably would've chosen a different variety had this one not been on the clearance rack; however, the variegation does add some diversity to the border and the plant has been relatively maintenance free.


On Apr 18, 2006, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

My information says that caryopteris is hardy in zones 4-9.


On Apr 10, 2006, chicochi3 from Fayetteville, AR (Zone 6b) wrote:

A lovely plant with beautiful foliage and a pleasant, spicy scent.


On Jan 30, 2006, rcn48 from Lexington, VA (Zone 6a) wrote:

Striking bright white and green variegation which holds well throughout the summer. Heat and drought resistant. Wonderful compact form and has performed beautifully in our gardens in full or partial sun. Charming, delicate blue flowers cover this plant in late summer, early fall. The foliage does have a scent which some people have likened to cat urine, although we find it to be much more pleasant, almost pepper-like.


On Jun 16, 2004, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

Well, one catalog says the leaves have a very distinctive smell when bruised. We'll see. Even if they do, the variegation is worth the price of noseplugs ;o) Caught this one on a spring clearance sale and couldn't pass it by when my other Caryopteris have done so well for me. Hope this one lives up to the high expectations set by its cousins!

June 2008 Update

Oh yeah - it DEFINITELY has a distinctive smell...kind of like turpentine. Not entirely offputting, but not really pleasant, either...