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The Chaste tree grows into a large deciduous shrub and small low branching tree growing 15-25 ft. high, 15-20 ft. wide. Its palmately divided leaves are pale green above, whitish below and are strongly scented when crushed. Colorful spikes of fragrant lavender-purple flowers reach 7-8 in. long and occur in summer; flowers attract bees and hummingbirds. Large numbers of tiny round seed pods develop by end of summer and persist into winter.

Chaste tree is grown throughout California where it shows tolerance to heat, cold temperatures to 0°F, average soils and varying amounts of moisture. It grows faster and to larger sizes with regular water, but is easily sustained with low amounts of supplemental water during summer once established.

Chaste tree is well adapted to the Inland Empire where it is grown as a summer flowering accent shrub or small tree in courtyards, containers and raised planters. It develops multiple trunks that can be exposed to add additional visual interest and specimen value as it matures. Several cultivars are available, including: V. a. Alba has white flowers and is not as showy; V. a. var. Latifolia has shorter and broader leaves, a more compact growth habit and a greater cold tolerance; and V. a. Rosea produces light pink flowers.

Water Needs

The Chaste tree is adapted to normal winter rainfall and low amounts of summer irrigation when planted in Inland Empire gardens. The chart shown below provides a baseline guide to the monthly irrigation schedule and volume of supplemental water needed to maintain healthy growth throughout the average year. As shown in the chart below, there are several months indicated by an asterisk (*) when winter rains can provide sufficient moisture and irrigation is not needed. The high and low range of moisture indicates it can grow with varying amounts of water; watering at the higher end of the range will result in a longer flowering cycle, faster growth and larger sizes.

Irrigation Schedule and Graph

Low Water Use Plants

Irrigation Schedule 2

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
Runs per Month 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x
Inches per Run 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1"
Inches per Month 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2"

Range of supplemental summer water: 7"-14"
Range of supplemental winter water: 0"-10"

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, follow this link.

For information how to calculate your irrigation system’s schedule and precipitation rate, please follow this link.

Plant Properties

Plant Type: Tree
Foliage Character: Winter deciduous
Habit: Upright, Multi-trunk, Mounding, Low-branching, Dense
Growth Rate: Moderate
Height: 15 ft. - 25 ft.
Width: 15 ft. - 20 ft.
Water Needs: Low 2
Foliage Color: Pale green
Flower Color: Purple, Lavender
Flower Season: Summer
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Loam
Exposure Adaptations: Heat, Frost, Cold hardy, Aridity, All day sun
Function: Wildlife value, Specimen, Screening, Residential spaces, Raised planters, Parks and open space, Foundations, Flowering accent plant, Commercial spaces, Background plant, Attracts bees, Attracts butterflies, Small spaces


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