This hardy variety of Vitex is a great choice for long-lasting summer colour. Although known as the Chaste Tree, Agnus-castus is a large, spreading, deciduous shrub with aromatic, peppery foliage. It is attractive, with dark green, glossy, palmate leaves that are a little like those of the cannabis plant, with five or seven oval, pointed, leaflets. Similar to a buddleia, Vitex bears branched sprays of small, fragrant, violet, flowers in slender racemes. These appear on the ends of the branches from late summer to mid-autumn, and attract butterflies. The berries are also peppery and can be used as a spice.
The perfect plant for a hot, dry difficult spot, it prefers a warm position, and is reasonably frost hardy once established. Drought tolerant, although it performas better with watering. A lovely plant to include in a flowering hedge. Grow as a multi-stemmed bush, or prune to a single trunk.
Associated with women's health, an extract of the fruit is used to alleviate premenstrual stress and infertility. The name derives from the ancient Greek belief that the powdered fruit suppresesed libido, hence 'chaste tree' and 'Monk's Pepper Tree' – Roman legionnaires' wives spread the powder on their couches to keep themselves pure while their men were away, and it was added to food in monasteries.
A recipient of the RHS AGM (Award of Garden Merit), for all round excellence in the garden.
Also available as Alba (White) – please select your choice.
Pot Size: 2L
Common Name: Broad-leaved Chaste Tree, Chaste Tree, Chasteberry, Monk's Pepper Tree, Cloister Pepper Tree, Sage Tree, Hemp Tree, Abraham's Balm
Hardiness: Hardy to –10C
Height and Spread: 2m x 2m (but up to 8m x 8m if not cut back)
Preferred Soil Type: Well-drained, or moist but well-drained soil
Position: Full sun, sheltered from cold winds and frosts
Aspect: South or west facing
Flowering Period: September – October
Care: Cut back annually for a more compact shrub