Vitex Purpurea Information - Knowledgebase Question

Santa Clarita, CA
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Question by scudmore
April 17, 2003
Would like growing information on the Vitex purpurea I recently purchased.

Answer from NGA
April 17, 2003
Vitex is a beautiful little tree or large shrub. It has compound leaves with 5 to 7 finger-like leaflets. These are aromatic and usually grey-green above; greyish and somewhat fuzzy below. This plant grows 10'-20' and blooms on new wood in summer with a great flush that makes the tree look like a purple cloud, then blooms are sporadic until early fall. Not only is the tree strikingly beautiful when in full bloom, but it is fragrant as well, and attracts pollinating bees! Following flowers, a fleshy but inconspicuous fruit forms that contains four seeds. These are sometimes used as seasoning, like pepper. Mature trees develop a blocky grey bark, and are deciduous in cold weather.

Vitex is easy to grow in fertile, well drained soil. Not hard to grow in almost any soil that has good drainage! Even tolerant of salt drift. The chaste tree can take care of itself admirably, but can be pushed along with a little fertilizer and organic mulch around the plant. If pruning is desired to control the size, it should be done in winter, since blooms form on new wood. It is hardly ever disturbed by pests or disease, but is susceptible to mushroom root rot and nematodes. It will grow in full sun to light shade.

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