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Vitex (Vitex agnus-castus), is a spectacular, quick growing, flowering tree for small spaces. You may have also heard it referred to as Chaste Tree.
Vitex is commonly grown as a multi-trunked ornamental tree that reaches 12-15’ in height and width – showing off its open habit. They are very drought and heat tolerant trees, which make them ideal for adding into North Texas landscapes, and they are especially perfect for the xeric garden. We suggest planting vitex as a specimen tree, where it has room to spread its canopy.
The deciduous trees have fragrant, grey-green foliage and striking spikes of purple flowers. The flower spikes are 8-12” long and flush into bloom in May with sporadic blooms continuing throughout the summer until first frost. Plants will bloom heavier with some deadheading, but that step of maintenance is not required. Popular varieties for our area include ‘Shoal Creek’, ‘Montrose Purple’, and ‘Silver Spires’ (the latter being a white flowered variety). There are also soft blush vitex on the market, but we are partial to the lovely purple.
Besides the wonderful flowers and drought tolerant nature, vitex is also a favorite of pollinators, like butterflies, bees and hummingbirds!
Plant vitex in full sun, with good drainage, for best results. Overall, vitex is low maintenance, but does require some thinning & shaping as time passes. We suggest waiting until leaves drop in fall or winter to remove criss-crossing or rubbing branches.