Chaste tree

Lavender-blue flower spikes of chastetree

The chaste tree, which is really a shrub, is a good choice for the shrub border or as a specimen. The upright clusters of lavender-blue, summer-blooming flowers and aromatic gray-green leaves attract butterflies.  In northern region, chaste tree should be cut to ground in early spring.

This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.

 

Botanical name:

Vitex agnus-castus

All Common Names:

Chaste tree

Family (English):

Verbena

Family (Botanic):

Verbenaceae

Tree or Plant Type:

  • Shrub

Foliage:

  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)

Native Locale:

  • Non-native

Landscape Uses:

  • Container,
  • Massing,
  • Mixed border,
  • Specimen

Size Range:

  • Medium shrub (5-8 feet),
  • Small shrub (3-5 feet)

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7,
  • Zone 8

Soil Preference:

  • Moist, well-drained soil

Season of Interest:

  • Early summer,
  • Mid summer,
  • Late summer,
  • Early fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Fragrant,
  • Blue,
  • Purple

Shape or Form:

  • Oval,
  • Upright

Growth Rate:

  • Fast

More Information:

Size and Form

Often considered a sub-shrub in northern climates.
May reach 8 to 10 feet high and wide.

Tree & Plant Care

Plants require well-drained soil in full sun.
Marginally hardy. In cold winters tops will die back to the ground.
Plants flower on new wood developed in the spring. Cut plant to the ground in early spring for best flowering.
Salt tolerant.

Disease, pests, and problems

Leaf spots and root rots occur in too wet soils.

Native geographic location and habitat

Southern Europe and western Asia

Attracts birds, butterflies, and pollinators

Birds and butterflies are attracted to flowers

Bark color and texture

Twiggy grey stems can get woody and blocky in appearance

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Opposite;  2 to 4 inches long,elliptical, palmately compound leaves with 5 to 9 lealfets radiating from a central stalk; gray-green in color

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Purple to lavender, 3 to 6 inch long flower spikes at tips of branches

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

A small persistent drupe; not showy

Cultivars and their differences

Blue Diddley® Chastetree (Vitex agnus-castus 'SMVACCBD'): A dwarf chaste tree reaching 3 to 6 feet high; laveder-blue spikes; good for containers

Blue Puffball™ Chastetree (Vitex agnus-castus 'PIIVAC-II'): A First Editions® dwarf, 3 feet high and wide,  compact shrub with medium green foliage; deep blue fragrant flower spikes.

Delta Blues™ Chastetree (Vitex agnus-castus 'PIIVAC-I'): An 8 to 10 feet high and wide, upright-spreading to rounded habit; dark, purplish-blue flowers and small shiny, reddish fruit.

Location of Vitex agnus-castus (Chaste tree) at the Arboretum