Chaste tree

Vitex agnus-castus

Description

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.

Plant Type: Tree
Foliage Character: Winter deciduous
Habit: Upright, Multi-trunk, Mounding, Low-branching, Dense
Growth Rate: Moderate
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
Height: 15 ft. – 25 ft.
Width: 15 ft. – 20 ft.