Vitex tree, a huge plant with lavender-colored spikes that bloom in the summer, is a popular choice. Chaste tree is another name for it. Vitex bushes and trees are sometimes referred to as the chaste tree, chasteberry, monk’s pepper, or simply vitex. Vitex trees grow as towering blooming shrubs in warm, bright areas. In colder climates, chaste trees develop into tiny perennial shrubs.
Many features make Chaste trees (Vitex agnus-castus) desirable garden shrubs. These plants have aromatic grayish-green, lanceolate leaves, in addition to clusters of little violet flowers. The vase-shaped development of the huge deciduous bushes spreads upward and outward.
During bloom in the summer and autumn, this lovely landscape plants attracts butterflies and pollinators. Vitex trees are covered in this article from beginning to end. Help choose the finest vitex tree cultivars for your garden landscape by looking at descriptions and pictures of vitex trees (chaste tree). You’ll find some useful advice on caring for this shrub-like tree at the conclusion of the article.
Vitex Trees Vs. Vitex Bush
Vitex agnus-castus grows as a big multi-stemmed shrub (left) or as a large shrub (right). The vitex plant generally grows as a big bushy shrub, despite being known as the vitex tree or chaste tree. Vitex, on the other hand, may develop as a tiny multi-trunked tree in warmer climates.
Vitex trees reach heights of 15 to 20 feet (4.5 to 6 meters) and vitex bushes reach heights of 3 to 15 feet (1 to 4.5 meters). Vitex bushes grow as tiny shrubs in colder climates since they die back to the ground.
Vitex Tree Facts
The aromatic shrubby plant Vitex agnus-castus belongs to the Lamiaceae family. This implies that herbs like mint, sage, thyme, and lavender are connected to chaste trees (vitex). Vitex is a tropical or sub-tropical woody shrub genus that includes flowering plants. In temperate zones, several Vitex species grow.
USDA zones 7 through 9 are optimal for Vitex trees. The massive shrub may reach 15 feet (4.5 meters) tall in hotter areas and 20 feet (6 meters) tall as a tree. The shrubby plant in zones 5 and 6 experiences winter dieback. Vitex bushes, on the other hand, are seldom affected by frost and revive the next spring. In temperate zones, heavy pruning helps flowers to bloom and continue to bloom.
Vitex agnus-castus was used as a tonic for both male and female reproductive systems, and it is claimed to have medicinal properties. Vitex is known as chaste tree and monk’s pepper, among other things, because of its frequent herbal applications. Lilac chastetree, hemp tree, Indian spice, Texas lilac, Abraham’s balm, and chasteberry are all other names for vitex.
Vitex Agnus-Castus Tree Leaves
Vitex tree leaves have aromatic palmate compound leaves with five to seven leaflets, and the flowers are fragrant. On the stems, long vitex leaves grow in opposition. Vitex plants have lance-shaped leaves that may grow to be 6″ to 8″ (15 to 20 cm) long.
On the top side, the foliage is gray-green, whereas on the bottom side, it is gray. The foliage of certain Vitex species, on the other hand, are gorgeous with purple undersides. The leaves of chase trees fall in the autumn, making them deciduous. Vitex leaves turn a rusty yellow-orange color before they fall.
Vitex tree leaves look a lot like cannabis leaves when viewed photographically. Vitex trees are also known as hemp trees because of the palmate leaves with long pointed leaflets. Aromatic essential oils are released when crushing chaste tree leaves. According to some, Vitex agnus-castus leaves emit a powerful earthy fragrance with a sage-like aroma.
Vitex Tree (Chaste Tree) Flowers
When chaste trees bloom in late summer, they produce spikes of fragrant lilac, white, pink, or lavender blooms. Vitex tree panicles, which bloom in slender conical spikes, are what the flowers look like. Corollas are tube-like flowers with little pastel-colored blooms. The peppery odors emitted by these scented blossoms are distinctive.
Vitex agnus-castus blooms range in color from blue-purple to light lavender. Some vitex plants, on the other hand, produce pink or white blooms. The chaste tree with white flower clusters blossoming from the ‘Silver Spire’ is an example. The dwarf vitex shrub ‘Pink Pinnacle’ produces delicate pink fragrant blooms throughout the summer, as does the Vitex agnus-castus ‘Salina’.
Several people believe that vitex flower photos resemble butterfly bush panicles. Clusters of little black berries develop after vitex trees finish blooming in the fall. These black peppercorns look a lot like these little vitex berries. The vitex tree is also known as monk’s pepper because of its peppery flavor and ability to diminish desire. Vitex tree fruits resemble black peppercorns in appearance.
Types of Vitex Trees (With Pictures)
To add summer color to your garden landscape, let’s take a closer look at some of the best examples of chaste trees that you can plant in your backyard.
Shoal Creek (Vitex Agnus-Castus ‘Shoal Creek’)
Little to medium-sized shrubs with purple or lavender-colored blooms, Vitex ‘Shoal Creek’ is also marketed under the name Texas Lilac. The dense foliage of this multi-stemmed shrub is made up of big grayish-green palmate hemp leaves. The long flowering spikes that reach 1 ft. (30 cm) in length are a remarkable characteristic of the species. In warmer regions, this vitex cultivar will develop as a bushy shrub or may be shaped into a tiny multi-trunked tree without pruning. Limiting the vitex tree’s height growth is aided by pruning this cultivar.
In colder areas, it develops into a tiny perennial shrub known as Shoal Creek. In the winter, the aromatic shrub dies to the ground. The plant, however, re-emerges in the spring and may grow up to 7 feet (2.1 meters) in a single growing season. The ‘Shoal Creek’ benefits from regular pruning, as do most vitex trees. In winter or early spring, the optimum time to trim branches to encourage thick, bushy development. Pruning also helps to encourage the number of flowers that bloom throughout the summer.
Full sun and ablated from the cold are the optimum growing conditions for this vitex tree. Keep the ground moist and plant chaste trees in loose, well-draining soil. This vitex cultivar is a low-maintenance plant that can tolerate dry conditions once it has been established. It grows best as a specimen tree, small bushy tree, big shrub borders, or foundation planting.
Three varieties of chaste trees known as “Texas Superstars” have been developed by horticulturalists from Texas A&M University. They’re marketed as “Texas Lilac,” and they include “Shoal Creek,” “Montrose Purple,” and “LeCompte.” They all have bigger and more gorgeous flowers than the traditional vitex varieties.
Alba Chaste Tree (Vitex Agnus-Castus ‘Alba’)
The Alba chaste tree is a huge shrub with large palmate compound leaves that blooms throughout the summer. The white panicles of this fragrant tree, which release peppery scents, are one of its distinguishing features. In addition, in late summer and autumn, little black fruits develop on the tree.
Between 10 and 15 feet (3.5 meters) tall, ‘Alba’ vitex trees The cultivar has a vase-shaped growth with a rounded crown and grows as a huge multi-stemmed shrub or small tree. The huge palmate compound leaves on this vitex tree are similar to those found on other vitex trees. It has white blooms that are unusual among Vitex agnus-castus cultivars.
Blue Diddley Chaste Tree (Vitex Agnus-Castus ‘Blue Diddley’)
Vitex bushes with blue-purple tubular blooms growing in a pyramidal shape are ideal for small gardens. Against the dark-green foliage, the beautiful blooming spikes stand out. For small gardens or border plantings, the compact flowering shrub has a naturally rounded growth habit.
Between 3 and 6 feet (1 and 2 meters) tall, dwarf Vitex agnus-castus ‘Blue Diddley’ grows. This quickly expanding shrub thrives as a dwarf perennial in northern climates. The little vitex shrub or tiny tree grows in hot regions as a medium-sized shrub or tree. Deadhead the flowers to encourage continuous bloom throughout the summer. This cultivar benefits from yearly pruning in the winter, as do other varieties of vitex trees.
Silver Spire Chaste Tree (Vitex Agnus-Castus ‘Silver Spire’)
In warmer climates, large flowering shrubs grow as small trees known as vitex. The pointed flowering spikes of silver spire chaste trees, which are made up of tiny tube-shaped white flowers, are a distinguishing feature. When crushed, the leaves of this vitex cultivar create earthy sage scents.
The huge, circular crown of the shrub-like tree is created by thick foliage with lance-shaped blue-green leaflets that give it a shrublike appearance.
The ‘Silver Spire’ variety, like other Vitex agnus-castus cultivars, has distinct growth characteristics in hotter and colder regions. In temperate climes, the plant is a multi-stemmed tree that blooms and then dies back in winter. It grows as a tiny, spherical vitex bush with white flowers the following spring after its development recovers.
Abbeville Blue Chaste Tree (Vitex Agnus-Castus ‘Abbeville Blue’)
A gorgeous medium-sized shrub with purple-blue blooms, the ‘Abbeville Blue’ vitex tree is a popular drought-tolerant shrub. A palmate compound leaf is formed by the arching lanceolate green leaves of this plant. The light green foliage contrasts beautifully with the dark blue blooms (3 – 6 m).
Peacock Chaste Tree (Vitex Altissima)
The peacock chaste tree is a huge version of the vitex altissima tree, with whitish tubular flowers that are purple-tinged and growing on long sprigs. The peacock chaste tree has palmate leaves that resemble a hand, with the green oblong-lanceolate leaves tapering to a point, much like most vitex trees.
Clusters of tiny black berry-like drupes develop after the tree finishes blooming. Between 40 and 65 feet (12 to 20 meters) tall, the Vitex altissima tree grows. The foliage of the peacock chaste tree forms an untrimmed conical shape that grows upright.
Planting Vitex Trees
Vitex agnus-castus plants are fast-growing shrubs that need loose, loamy soil with good drainage to thrive. Make sure the ground drains well before you plant a chaste tree. Plant chaste trees where they receive plenty of sunlight, in addition to well-draining soil. Vitex trees bloom throughout the summer if they receive at least six hours of sunlight every day.
How to Care for Vitex (Chaste Tree)
Year after year, chaste trees bloom and require little upkeep. Vitex trees can be grown from seed and only need to be watered during hot, dry spells. Just cover the plant’s base with mulch. That’s all you have to do! Fertilizer is not required for Vitex bushes. Every year, vitex trees must be pruned to maintain the most critical care.
How to Prune Chaste Trees (Vitex Agnus-Castus)
Every winter, pruning chaste trees (vitex) helps to limit development, create thick foliage, and encourage bloom. Another way to ensure you get lovely blooms all summer long is to deadhead (cut off faded blooms). When it comes to severe pruning, chaste trees are forgiving.
Prune weak vitex stems and sparse branches from the shrub’s center during the winter. Without harming the vitex plant, you may remove most of the twiggy growth up to the main branches. You’ll encourage new growth the next spring if you cut limbs just above dormant buds. If necessary, you may even chop branches off the main stem.ry.
In colder areas, such as USDA zones 5 and 6, you may need to trim vitex trees back to the ground. Any vegetation above ground is killed by frost, so there’s no harm done. The shrub will recover with astonishing speed the next spring since the vitex tree roots can withstand frost.
In the spring and summer, snip off dead flowers to encourage blooming until the autumn. By removing male flowers from chaste trees, the tree can channel energy into creating new blossoms rather than seeds.
Vitex Tree Problems
The solitary major difficulty for chaste trees is root rot. Plant the vitex tree in well-draining soil and only water it occasionally throughout warm weather to prevent root rot. Loose soil that is slightly damp is the optimum growing conditions for Chaste trees.