A deciduous shrub or small tree with such a rich history that it is known by many names – Chaste Tree, Chasteberry, and Monk’s Pepper allude to its European uses in the Middle Ages – Texas Lilac attests to its popularity in the Lone Star State – and nowadays it is most often just called Vitex.
This beautiful perennial fills 3 roles at once, any one of which would be reason to grow it. As an ornamental shrub it reaches 10-15’, with long spikes of blue-purple flowers, delicate-looking but so tough the state of Texas uses it for highway median plantings. Its seeds have been used for centuries as a female hormone balancer useful in both PMS and menopause. And those showy flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies, as well as pollinator insects.
Vitex is heat and drought tolerant and low maintenance. As with most perennials, expect plants to take a couple years to reach their full potential. Below zone 7 it can die back to the ground in winter, but regrow from the roots – if that is your situation, apply a heavy winter mulch. Vitex does well in large containers.
Latin name: Vitex agnus-castus
Approx. 50 seeds per packet
Grown in Potter Valley, Mendocino County, California
Certified Organic by CCOF
Apr 10, 2022
I planted several of these & they did not grow.