The Vitex tree botanical name: Agnus-castus. It likes full Sun – USDA Zones 6-10. Also called the Chaste tree, Chasteberry, and Lilac Chaste Berry. The growth rate is about 15-20ft. tall and wide sometimes taller after 30 years. A low water tree once established. Beautiful spiky dark lilac blooms late spring early summer. There is also a white variety not as showy as the dark lilac flowers but still a great tree for a Xeriscape or a traditional landscape area.
The Vitex Tree has a naturally broad and spreading multi-trunk display. You can also use it as a large shrub, or train it for use as a small tree. Just prune off lower branches and limbs to accent the landscape or patio. It will lose its leaves in early November and will just to grow new foliage in late March possibly April.
The Flowers of the Vitex Tree.
It will start to bloom in late May or so and will bloom for another 30 days. Extend the blooming season by trimming off (deadhead) the expired blooms for another blast of blooms.
The Expired blooms look like small bb pellets – See Photo Below.
Where to plant the Vitex Tree?
They will tolerate some shade but will do better with full sun. Water regularly the first 2-3 years after initial planting. Once established you can cut back watering to about 1-2 times per week during the mid-summer season. After the fifth season, you can cut back to once per month.
Plant it in a rock landscape as they will tolerate the reflected heat from the rock ground cover. Use them with other xeriscape plants but do not plant them underneath the shade of this tree.
What about Insects and Diseases?
The Vitex tree is not susceptible to insects and or diseases. There have been known cases of powdery mildew with this tree. Usually caused by overwatering or too much rainfall in the area. Treat with fungus control if you find white powdery substance on the foliage. Check here for what it looks like on other plants.
Thysanoptera, also known as thrips will attack the Vitex. These little pests suck on the stems. Use a system insecticide to kill them. Or spray them with Neem oil. B.T.W. not all thrips are bad some are actually beneficial. Read this post at gardening know how.
Paul Guzman – General Manager of Guzman’s Greenhouse. Gardener, Husband, Father and Grandfather. Webmaster of Guzmansgreenhouse.com