Caryopteris, Autumn Blue Spiraea, Bluebeard, California Lilac 'Sunshine Blue'

Caryopteris incana

Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Caryopteris (kar-ee-OP-ter-iss) (Info)
Species: incana (in-KAN-nuh) (Info)
Cultivar: Sunshine Blue
Additional cultivar information:(aka Jason)
View this plant in a garden



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun




Foliage Color:



24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


36-48 in. (90-120 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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Dark Blue

Bloom Characteristics:

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

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From softwood cuttings

From semi-hardwood 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:

Susanville, California

Oxford, Connecticut

Washington, Illinois

Hobart, Indiana

Princeton, Kansas

Hebron, Kentucky

Easton, Maryland

Norton, Massachusetts

Nashville, Michigan

Hillsboro, Missouri

Troy, New Hampshire

Harrod, Ohio

Eugene, Oregon

Emmaus, Pennsylvania

Irwin, Pennsylvania

New Freedom, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Waverly, Pennsylvania

Whitehall, Pennsylvania

Collierville, Tennessee

Garland, Texas

Lexington, Virginia

East Port Orchard, Washington

Vancouver, Washington

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Nov 13, 2018, Susan_Hartwig from Lancaster, NY wrote:

I have grown a few varieties of Caryopteris now, and every single one has died eventually in my 6a garden. I would argue that the zone 6a rating is not acurate. They may survive a winter or two, but then an especially cold winter will kill it off. They mostly die completely to the ground anyway in zone 6a, and never really reach a good size shrub before succumbing to a severe winter, I've found. I haven't had one live more than 2 years, and many die the first winter. If you have a micro climate, like say, against a southern foundation, you may have better luck getting it to flourish. They are very pretty while in bloom, but I never saw a lot pollinator action on it. An occaisional hummingbird. To me, there are better pollinator plants. They do grow easily from seed when winter sown.


On Aug 18, 2018, JennysGarden_TN from Collierville, TN wrote:

Caryopteris 'Sunshine Blue' Blue Mist' is growing well in my zone 7b garden. Its pretty yellow foliage captured my heart. Love this shrub! It really stands out in my sunny perennial bed.


On Jun 27, 2014, tepelus from Nashville, MI (Zone 6a) wrote:

Reseeds readily and a good thing! After our brutal winter the original plant died completely, but five of her most robust seedlings, buried completely under the snow (momma was exposed to -24 degree weather with little snow cover due to drifting snow where she was planted) survived and I will move them now that they are big enough to survive transplanting. More seedlings are popping up and I will let a few stay just in case these other ones don't survive the winter if it is as harsh as the last. The original plant grew quite happily for four years before this winter killed it. Beautiful plant and the bees go crazy for the flowers. The foliage scent reminds me a little of lemon Pledge.


On Apr 23, 2014, freewill222 from Nashville, TN wrote:

I bought the "Lil' Miss Sunshine" variety of the Caryopteris at 75% off on the back lot of a reputable nursery at the end of last summer/beginning of fall. It had few leaves and was a bit pitiful, but once planted in my garden, flowered prolifically until the first frost despite having almost no leaves. I was impressed with stamina of the lovely purplish-blue flowers which attracted many bumble bee pollinators despite being a practically discarded plant at the nursery. I was very pleased to find it sprouting beautiful yellow leaves this spring after a particularly long and cold winter here in Nashville (zone 6b/7). It is planted in an extremely sunny site in compost amended clay soil. Suddenly (literally overnight!) the majority of the leaves look withered and burned! Nashville can get ve... read more


On May 12, 2011, cntryrocks from Princeton, KS wrote:

I have this plant growing in a bed on the northeast side of my house. It must love it there, because it grows and grows some more. I planted it 2 years ago and it is atleast 4 x 4. Next spring I am going to cut it to the ground. It has outgrown it's space. I do love it though, it is very pretty. I need to move a new one that came up from a seed (about 10 ft. from the other one) !


On Nov 7, 2010, lovemyhouse from (Debra) Garland, TX wrote:

Have this one in the hottest, driest, heaviest clay-soil bed in my yard. Curbside, no less. The foliage stays mostly green and it does wilt without at least occasional supplemental water. After three years in the ground, though, it flowers up just fine. The bees love it. I prefer Summer Sorbet, but Sunshine Blue is "growing" on me. :-)


On Nov 15, 2009, msfeatherflower from Sugar Land, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Not as tenacious for me, a master gardener so I know how to grow. Bought this plant from mail order to grow it in Houston, Texas area. Couldn't handle the summer heat or drought or both. Died quickly in the middle of the summer. Big disappointment.


On Mar 26, 2009, ShrubSource from Zeeland, MI wrote:

Caryopteris - Sunshine Blue Bluebeard

Forget about growing other yellow-leaf Caryopteris varieties: Sunshine Blue is the standard for gold-leaf bluebeard, and that's just the leaves! This variety of Caryopteris is larger, more woody, and hardier than the typical. Stronger growing than 'Worcester Gold', it also has larger, brighter yellow foliage. Sunshine Blue has rich blue appealing flowers that overwhelm the pale blue blooms of other cultivars. The flowers and foliage have a pleasant scent, and may be cut for use in arrangements. It is a great contrast plant that will add season long color to the garden, looks stunning next to dark green plants. Bluebeard is a useful plant in the landscape, especially for drier conditions. Use it in perennial beds, mixed borders, or as ... read more


On Mar 17, 2007, berrygirl from Braselton, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

Caryopteris 'Sunshine Blue' BLUE MIST SHRUB Dec (z6)
What a combination!: deep amethyst-blue flowers on a background of sunny-yel leaves; a rounded 3'eye-catcher for border or accent.S/M PPAF


On Mar 7, 2007, DreamOfSpring from Charleston, SC (Zone 9a) wrote:

I can certainly vouch for the tenacity of of this plant. I have ignored and abused mine in every conceivable way. If it were possible to kill it, mine would be dead. According to the literature this plant does best is sunshine and in a cool environment. I gave it neigher. For 2 years mine has sat in a 6" pot at the back of my North facing patio and behind a bunch of larger plants where a 2story house kept it in shade all day. Despite our punishing summer heat (Charleston, SC, Zone8b), it subsisted on rainwater in a parched pot that was dry more often than not. This winter it sat in the middle of the garden, exposed to the elements, its pot subjected to overnight temps as low as 28F. I can't remember ever having fertilized it. Mine doesn't look great, but despite all that abuse it is alive ... read more