The Q&A Archives: Prune a Vitex/Chaste Tree?

Question: I have a Chaste Tree/Vitex. It bloomed again in fall. Should I prune off dead spikes or leave this spring. Great tree I love it. Seeds really well from blossoms. I have your info sheet on it but not sure if I will loose blooms if I prune. Thankyou!!

Answer: The chaste tree is a sprawling plant that grows 10-20 ft and about as wide. Branched flower clusters are produced on new wood in late spring and early summer in a great flush that makes the tree look like a hazy purple cloud. It continues to bloom sporadically until early fall. Not only is the tree strikingly beautiful when in full bloom, but it is also fragrant and attracts pollinating bees and hummingbirds make hungry visits. Flowers are followed by a fleshy fruit that contains four seeds that are sometimes used as seasoning, similar to black pepper (monk's pepper is another of this species' common names). The chaste tree can take care of itself, but can be pushed to faster growth with light applications of fertilizer in spring and early summer and by mulching around the plant. If pruning is desired to control the size, it should be done in winter, since blooms form on new wood.

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