Caryopteris divaricata ‘Snow Fairy’

Home » Blog » Caryopteris divaricata ‘Snow Fairy’

Robert Pavlis

Caryopteris divaricata ‘Snow Fairy’: photo by Robert Pavlis

Caryopteris divaricata ‘Snow Fairy is an elegant plant that requires almost no maintenance, has few if any pests and looks good most of the year. It should be in every garden where it is hardy.

 

Caryopteris divaricata ‘Snow Fairy’: photo by Robert Pavlis
Caryopteris divaricata ‘Snow Fairy’: photo by Robert Pavlis

You might know the genus Caryopteris as shrubs, but this one is an herbaceous perennial. I have grown it for years and did not know this until I wrote this article. In my zone 5 garden it looks like a shrub that gets killed to the ground in winter, similar to the butterfly bush. It produces very stiff strong stems that keep their shape all year.

It is a bit slow to get going in spring, but by early summer you will have a nice clump of variegated foliage. It keeps growing all summer and never loses its color as so many variegated plants do. There is another cultivar called Caryopteris divaricata ‘Blue Butterflies’ which has green leaves but much larger flowers. I think Snow Fairy is a better choice.

Caryopteris divaricata ‘Snow Fairy’: photo by Robert Pavlis
Caryopteris divaricata ‘Snow Fairy’: photo by Robert Pavlis

It does produce flowers in fall most years but due to their small size they really don’t add too much to the plant. You grow this one for foliage. Give it full sun or a bit of shade and don’t worry about watering it; it is quite drought tolerant once established. It will not tolerate a wet site.

Microbe Science for Gardeners Book, by Robert Pavlis

The only maintenance I do is to cut it back to the ground in spring. Common names include blue spirea, blue mist shrub, and blue mist spirea.

Since I didn’t know it was a perennial, I took cuttings in midsummer just like my other shrub and they rooted quite easily. Spring tip cuttings are reported to work even better.

Caryopteris divaricata ‘Snow Fairy’: photo by Robert Pavlis
Caryopteris divaricata ‘Snow Fairy’: photo by Robert Pavlis

Caryopteris divaricata ‘Snow Fairy

(kar-ee-OP-ter-iss  dy-vair-ih-KAY-tuh)

Life Cycle: perennial

Height: 100cm (3.5 ft)

Bloom Time: fall

Natural Range: Himalayas (for the species)

Habitat: sunny dry slopes

Synonyms: Tripora divaricata

Cultivation Caryopteris divaricata ‘Snow Fairy’:

Light: full sun to part shade

Soil: well drained

Water: dry

USDA Hardiness Zone: 5– 9

Propagation: division, cuttings

If you like this post, please share .......

Robert Pavlis

I have been gardening my whole life and have a science background. Besides writing and speaking about gardening, I own and operate a 6 acre private garden called Aspen Grove Gardens which now has over 3,000 perennials, grasses, shrubs and trees. Yes--I am a plantaholic!

Please leave a comment either here or in our Facebook Group: Garden Fundamentals