Vitex negundo
Common Name: chaste tree
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Lamiaceae
Native Range: Asia, scattered other
Zone: 6 to 9
Height: 3.00 to 10.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 8.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to August
Bloom Description: Lilac / lavender
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Attracts: Butterflies

Culture

Best grown in loose, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Plant in a sheltered location in USDA Zones 5-6 wherein this shrub is not reliably winter hardy and often suffers winter die back or dies to the ground in severe winters. May be regularly pruned to the ground in early spring and grown in the manner of an herbaceous perennial.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Vitex negundo, commonly called chaste tree, is a deciduous shrub or small, multi-trunked tree which typically grows to 10-15' tall (occasionally larger) in warm winter climates. In cold winter areas (especially USDA Zones 5-6), it is more often grown as a 3-5' tall woody perennial. Features compound palmate, grayish-green leaves with 3-5 lance-shaped leaflets (each leaflet to 4" long) and tiny, fragrant, bluish-lavender lowers appearing in loose, 5-8" long panicles in mid to late summer. This species is generally less ornamental than Vitex agnus-castus but may be slightly hardier.

Genus name comes from the Latin name for V. agnus-castus or chaste tree.

Specific epithet refers to the plant's leaves which resemble those of Acer negundo.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Leaf spot and root rot are occasional problems. Winter hardiness in St. Louis is a problem.

Garden Uses

Interesting foliage and late summer flowers are attractive in shrub borders.