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Butterfly Garden

Vitex

Vitex agnus-castus

  • Common Name: Vitex (other common names: chaste tree, chasteberry, Abraham's balm, lilac chaste tree, or monk's pepper)
  • Scientific Name: Vitex agnus-castus
  • Family Name: Lamiaceae
  • Origin: Asia and Mediterranean region
  • Height: 10’ –15’
  • Width: 15’ – 20’
  • Growth: moderate
  • Zone: 7B - 11
  • Light Needs: Full sun or partial shade
  • Salt Tolerance:  tolerant of salt spray
  • Soil/PH/Texture: will grow best in loose, well-drained soil that is a bit on the dry side
  • Soil Moisture: Average water needs but do not overwater - In mucky, organic, or moist soils it can suffer from root rot and dieback.
  • Drought Tolerance: high (once established)
  • Pests/Diseases: no major pest concerns and, aside from leaf spot, suffers from no common plant diseases.
  • Growing Conditions: Easy to grow, low maintenance, if you want a specific shape – drooping branches can be pruned when necessary.
  • Characteristics: The leaves of this deciduous tree are sage scented and have green/gray leaves. a large, deciduous flowering shrub or small tree will provide a show from late spring – fall with beautiful spikes full of clustered bluesish/purple flowers (the wide variety of cultivars give you a choice of colors ranging from white, pink and purple flowers).
  • Propagation: by stem cuttings or seeds.
  • Wildlife: attracts small birds, including the hummingbird, butterflies and bees which encourages honey production in neighboring hives.
  • Facts: The curious name, "chaste tree" finds its roots from an early natural history text that was written in the first century AD in a Roman book called Naturalis Historia written by a noted naturalist, military commander of the Roman Empire and writer named Pliny the Elder. He spoke of the women in Athens keeping branches of the tree under their beds during the feast of Ceres, which was the Roman goddess of agriculture, grain, and fertility. The young women believed that the leaves of the plant would help them remain pure and innocent, thus the "chaste tree". The name vitex comes from the Latin vieo, meaning to weave in which Pliny believed was connected to the tree's use in Roman basket weaving.
  • Designer Considerations: use as a background/accent plant for other brighter landscape plants, a small tree specimen, a shrubbery border, or even as a container plant for a patio or along a driveway entrance.

Vitex

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