Vitex agnus-castus

Vitex agnus-castus
Vitex agnus-castus 
chaste tree
SIZE/TYPE medium-sized shrub
 taller shrub
LEAVES deciduous broadleaf
BLOOMING TIME August - October
LOCATION full sun
SOIL TYPE any (acidic to alkaline)
SOIL MOISTURE REQUIREMENTS evenly moist but well-drained
USDA zone (lowest) 5b   (down to -27°C)
FOR ZONE 5+6 Code of winter protection zone 5+6
FOR ZONE 7 Code of winter protection zone 7
BELONGS TO CATEGORIES Deciduous broadleaf
Summer blooms
náhled fotonáhled fotonáhled foto

Vitex is surprisingly a large genus of about 250 species spread almost all around the globe. In our climate we know very little about it because most of its species are subtropical plants but there are a few that can cope with our zone 6 winters easily and make beautiful flowering shrubs or exceptionally small trees. Chaste tree is a one of them and comes from areas ranging from the Mediterranean to Central Asia. And it is not just beautiful, it has long been used as a strong medicinal plant, especially in homeopathy.

It is an airy, large to mid-sized shrub with leaves that slightly resemble marijuana. They are deciduous, palmately divided into 5 or 7 leaflets, mid green to grey-green, slightly hairy, and fragrant. In fact, their fragrance is stronger than that of the flowers. Those are tiny, violet, and are composed in upright, slender, terminal panicles, and are often mistaken for butterfly bush flowers. They appear from mid to late summer and continue until mid-autumn thus prolonging the flowering season till the last sunny and warm days of October.

I must admit I am fascinated by everything about this plant. Apart from its showy flowers I love its texture. Its dramatically pointed leaves look rather exotic and though there is plenty of them the plant still remains airy and fluffy, and if you place it next to a hard-leaved, evergreen shrub typical for the Mediterranean it significantly lightens up the landscape as it moves in the slightest breeze.

Chaste tree grows fast and is often pruned hard same as other summer-flowering shrubs e.g., panicle hydrangeas, bluebeards, or the above-mentioned butterfly bushes. In early spring after all frosts cut off some 80% of previous year’s growth which will result in a bushy, many-branched shrub. Another option is training it into a multistemmed shrub with clear lower stems that will thicken with age, and a dome-shaped canopy. You will need a slightly older specimen to do that. Choose a framework of 3-5 strong branches from the ground and remove all lateral branches alongside up to at least one meter or even higher. Do this also in spring and when needed trim the crown lightly just to make it look good.

Grow chaste tree solely in full sun in virtually any free-draining soil. It can cope with summer drought but will most likely die in boggy ground. In respect of its origin, in frost-prone areas we suggest growing it in sheltered locations. Fertilizing is not needed. It is wood-hardy to about -24 °C (USDA zone 6), however, it can also be grown in zone 5 as a semi-woody perennial if the top is killed by frost as it readily regenerates from the lower framework or even from the roots.

Last update 03-09-2008; 20-09-2016; 21-11-2021

Vitex agnus-castus var.
Veronicastrum virginicum
Vitex agnus-castus
  • STANDARD QUALITY - Plants of this group are 1st class quality with number of branches and overall density adequate to their size and age, considering they were container grown.
  • DE LUXE QUALITY - This label guarantees a luxurious quality of manually selected plants that, compared to their height and age, are exceptionally dense and beautiful.
  • EXTRA - These plants are usually mature and bigger specimens with exceptional overall appearance.
  • STANDARD (as described in the plant form) means a tree with a trunk of 190-210 cm and a crown at the top, unless specified differently. The commercial size for trees is their girth measured in the height of 1m from ground.
  • HOBBY - These plants are of the same quality as our standard-quality plants but younger and therefore cheaper.
  • SHRUB - a woody plant with branches growing bushy from the ground level.
  • HALF-STANDARD or MINI-STANDARD - a small tree with shorter trunk, its size is usually specified.
  • FEATHERED - These are trees with branches growing already from the base of the trunk and up along the stem.
  • GRASSES and PERENNIALS - Sizes given usually read the diameter of the pot or the clump, as specified.
LARGE PLANTS over 150 cmspecimens, screening and hedging shrubs

This site uses cookies to provide services and traffic analysis - here you can find details. I use this site for further use of this site ACCEPT.