This Is Lilac Chaste Tree

Lilac Chastetree is a great summer bloomer

Lilac chaste tree is a great summer bloomer.

The spike flowers accent the verticalness of this plant

The spike flowers accent the verticalness of this plant.

This is the pink selection as well as a white selection

This is the pink selection, and there is a white selection as well.

It is hard to find a more attractive large shrub or small tree for summer blooms especially with lilac blue flowers. Lilac chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus) is an attractive multi-stem plant that grows to heights of around 20 feet, but can easily be kept under control by light pruning, if you want it smaller. It is one of the plants that is used more in other areas of the country than Birmingham, and I don’t know why. It is a great deciduous shrub or small tree. One of the oldest plantings I know of is the one in the Hill Garden at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. These old plants have been tree formed and have a very oriental appearance, mainly because of pruning. Most are upright and tall plants, and their candle like flowers are really striking. They like full sun and do not like wet roots. Mine are really “no care” plants once they are established. The leaves look like a popular smoking weed, but the foliage fragrance is very strong, so it is not a substitute. There are several named selections of purple ones that have more compact spikes, as well as a pink and white selections.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

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