Vitex (or Chaste Tree)Vitex agnus-castus
The Chaste Tree is a beautiful small deciduous tree or large shrub with a showy summertime flower display. The foliage is typically gray-green to dark green above and lighter on the undersides.
The Chaste Tree is a sprawling plant that grows 10-20 feet and is about as wide. Branched flower clusters are produced on new wood in late spring and early summer that makes the tree look like a hazy purple cloud. It continues to bloom sporadically until early fall. Not only is the tree strikingly beautiful when in bloom, but is also fragrant and attracts bees and Hummingbirds. Flowers are a fleshy fruit that contains four seeds that are sometimes used as seasoning, similar to black pepper. Flower color ranges from blue to deep purple.
Use and Management
Chaste Tree is easy to grow in almost any soil that has good drainage. Its growth can be accelerated by applying fertilizer in spring and early summer and by mulching around the plant. Pruning should take place winter, since blooms form on the new wood. It is rarely bothered by pests or disease but is susceptible to root rot and nematodes. It is very drought tolerant.
The showy chaste tree makes a particularly effective – use as the centerpiece of a lawn or in large containers. Plant near patio or deck where it can be seen but not too close since it attracts bees.
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