Have you noticed all the beautiful Vitex blooming? The above picture is a snippet of the mass planting of them in the median of Route 98 in Wake Forest, NC. This deciduous shrub is a fast grower and a great addition to any landscape. It’s tough, drought tolerant, and the showy summer display doesn’t disappoint. It loves the hot weather and can be planted in sun to part shade in a range of soil types. It is a very versatile plant. It can grow 15-20’ tall and 10-15’ feet wide and is typically an irregular to rounded large shrub or small tree. But, it can be trained into a single stemmed tree or planted in the perennial garden and cut back to the ground each year. It is said to be an edible herb with a long history of human use dating back prior to the thirteenth century. Recent studies have shown it’s effectiveness with balancing hormones and increasing fertility. However, we just love it for the blooms! Small, fragrant violet flowers bloom along spikes 6-12” long starting strong in summer and continuing sporadically until fall. The blooms are accented with aromatic, grayish-green leaves with 5-7 lance-shaped leaflets. Flowers are quite attractive to butterflies, hummingbirds and other pollinators. Our favorite varieties are:
Vitex agnus-castus ‘Shoal Creek’
An improved cultivar that blooms in dense terminal clusters of fragrant violet flowers over an extended season. Becomes a small tree over time with a wide open canopy and aromatic gray-green foliage. Thrives in heat. Exceptional patio tree.
The Vitex strongly resembles the butterfly bush (Buddleia) in look and and in butterfly attract-ability. It makes a perfect alternative to the butterfly bush which does not stand up as well against the North Carolina Summer heat.